Inuk: The Warming of Ice and Hearts

I am in the midst of reading a pile of books to figure out what to review next. In the meantime, I thought I’d write about a great movie I just saw!

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In Greenland, ice matters. Unfortunately, there’s a lot less of it these days, and the Inuit hunters and fishermen struggle to eke out an existence, often having to change their routes to avoid thinning ice with its potentially fatal cracks.

Meanwhile, Inuk, a teen-aged boy, lives in the city. He had once lived a traditional life, but as a child he saw his father fall through the ice and die. He and his mother moved to the city, where she turned to alcohol to cope. Emotionally abandoned and uncared for, Inuk is taken from his mother and sent to the north to a children’s home, where he is re-introduced to the traditional ways. A hunting trip across the ice brings Inuk in contact with the great hunter Ikuma. Both deeply scarred, Inuk and Ikuma must work together in the harsh environment. As the film’s synopsis says, “the most difficult part of the journey is the one they must make within themselves.”

Inuk is not your average Hollywood fare. The actors are all natives of Greenland’s north country, including children from an actual children’s home and hunters who make their living from seals and fish. None had previous acting experience. Director Mike Magidson never directed a film before, either. And yet, the rich story is well-acted and conveys a country struggling with changes in both traditions and climate.

Having made the rounds of a number of film festivals, where it has gathered a number of awards, Inuk is preparing for its debut in 25 U.S. cities later this year. If you get a chance to catch this heart-warming story, please do.

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