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Film Description
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Film Title:
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

Director: Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn
Country: Canada/Denmark
Year: 2006
Language: Inuktitut, English, Danish
Time: 112 minutes
Film Types: Colour/35mm
Rating: 14A
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen

Thursday, September 07    6:30 PM    VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN)  Buy tickets now
Thursday, September 07    8:00 PM    ROY THOMSON HALL  Buy tickets now
Friday, September 08    9:30 AM    RYERSON  Buy tickets now

Production Company : Igloolik Isuma Productions 
Canadian Distribution : Alliance Atlantis * Motion Picture Distribution 
Foreign Sales Agent : Isuma Distribution International 

Producer: Norman Cohn, Zacharias Kunuk, Vibeke Vogel, Elise Lund Larsen
Screenplay: Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn
Cinematographer: Norman Cohn
Editor: Norman Cohn, Cathrine Ambus, Félix Lajeunesse
Production Designer: Zacharias Kunuk, Louis Uttak
Sound: Richard Lavoie
Principal Cast: Leah Angutimarik, Pakak Innukshuk, Neeve Irngaut Uttak, Natar Ungalaaq, Samuelie Ammaq

With its epic scope and unique translation of ancient myth, Zacharias Kunuk's first feature-length work, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), effectively upended preconceptions about cinema. His latest, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen - which he co-directed with his long-time collaborator, the cinematographer Norman Cohn - is a poetic, elliptical account of the first contact between European explorers and the Inuit. Quite likely the first feature film depiction of this encounter from the Inuit perspective, the film is not only a startling work of art but a cultural and historical event.

Beginning in the Arctic Circle in 1922, the film focuses on the aging shaman Avva (Pakak Innukshuk) and his favoured, yet rebellious daughter Apak (Leah Angutimarik). Their relationship has always been a stormy one. Apak's life his been marked by tragedy, much like her father's. Since the death of her beloved first husband, Apak - who, like Avva, is a shaman - has been neglecting her current mate to visit her first husband in the spirit world.

Tensions within the family and the community at large are brought to the fore by the intrusions of a group of Danish explorers. When they meet, Avva is forced to explain his traditional beliefs - the threat to these is seen in stark relief when the group finds a village full of Christian converts in the place where Avva was born. The final sequence, when Avva finally confronts the historical changes facing his community, is simply heartbreaking.

The Journals of Knud Rasmussen is both an intimate family drama and a stirring, powerful account of cultures colliding. Kunuk and Cohn's ability to balance these different aspects of the story - along with their otherworldly and gorgeous visual approach - establish them as one of the world's most important filmmaking duos.

Zacharias Kunuk was born at Kapuivik in the Igloolik region. In 2001 his first dramatic feature film, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), won the award for Best Canadian Feature Film at the Festival, as well as the Camera d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (co-director, 06) is his most recent film.

Norman Cohn was born in New York City. He has contributed to shorts, documentaries and dramatic feature films, including Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) (01), which he co-wrote, co-produced, co-edited and photographed. The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (co-director, 06) is his feature directorial debut.

Associated with European Film Promotion,
an initiative supported by the
European Unionís MEDIA Programme.

Isuma - to have an idea
September 6 - October 22, 2006

Opening on the eve of the premiere of Isuma's new feature film The Journals of Knud Rasmussen at the Toronto International Film Festival, the Blackwood Gallery is pleased to announce a survey exhibition of films produced by Igloolik Isuma Productions - Canada's first Inuit independent production company founded in 1990 by Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak Angilirq, Pauloosie Qulitalik and Norman Cohn. Click here for more information
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