I’ve had the privilege of watching Alethea Arnaquq-Baril’s documentary Angry Inuk during last year’s ImagiNATIVE. And I have the same feeling today. It made Canada’s Top Ten for 2016. Arnaquq-Baril’s film earned its position, and I’m liking it more now at my second viewing. She takes us to the tranquil land and seascapes of Nunavut. It’s home to the Inuit and the wild seals they need to hunt to survive. She makes me want to try seal meat. She films its consumption with a sense of how these meals brings the community together. That she accomplishes despite of the cultural differences.
Arnaquq-Baril narrates the film, aware and burdened of the animal rights activists’ misinformation towards seal hunting practices. But she doesn’t just use images of her community to get her point across. She also uses info-graphics necessary to depict the outside world that doesn’t understand her community. It’s easy to be on her side. She also explains not just her community’s practices but their understand of anger. The title ‘Angry Inuk’ is an oxymoron to a people who sees anger as a sign of defeat. But her community has long realized the changing times, as well as the need to clear the record about themselves.
Fortunately Arnaquq-Baril uses methods beyond anger. She also uses music to provide much needed context for the sealskin industry. That industry is actually smaller than people outside Nunavut thinks it is. But anger, in its controlled distillation, is the film’s main weapon. It’s a feeling I can’t help having while seeing archive footage of Brigitte Bardot. She of all people has the nerve to speak about ethics. Despite dwindling resources she and her community combat ignorance in their terms and even in their own beautiful language. She uses film to make her communities’ voice clear.
Angry Inuk screens on Monday Jan 16th and Tues Jan 17th, please visit TIFF.net for ticket info.
- Release Date: 1/2017