Atanarjuat - The legend of the fast runner

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
German title Atanarjuat - The legend of the fast runner
Original title Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner
Country of production Canada
original language Inuktitut
Publishing year 2001
length 167 minutes
Age rating FSK 12
Director Zacharias Kunuk
script Paul Apak Angilirq
production Paul Apak Angilirq
music Chris Crilly
camera Norman Cohn
cut Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk
Marie-Christine Sarda

Atanarjuat - The Legend of the Fast Runner is the film debut of Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk . It is the first Canadian feature film to be written, produced, directed and acted by Inuit. The film tells the Inuit legend of the fast runner and has won awards at many film festivals . The German edition appeared in Inuktitut with German subtitles.


An Inuit tribe that lived in the Canadian Arctic at the end of the first millennium is cursed by a strange shaman. The resulting lust for power, the rivalry for a beautiful woman, jealousy and vengeance move into people's lives.

After the murder of an old chief, the devious Sauri prevails over Tulimaq as the new tribal leader. Tulimaq is humiliated and unlucky, and his family goes hungry. He has two sons; the older Amaqjuat is very strong, while Atanarjuat is considered a particularly fast runner.

The old rivalry between fathers carries over to sons as well. Atanarjuat in particular comes into conflict with Oki, Sauri's son, because he desires the beautiful Atuat, which Oki was promised from childhood. In a ritual fight Atanarjuat can prevail over the stronger Oki and gets Atuat as his wife.

On a hunting trip Atanarjuat meets the Sauris clan, who offer him Oki's sister Puja to accompany him. Puja uses the first night in the shared tent to seduce Atanarjuat and then to join the little clan run by Atanarjuat and his older brother as a second wife next to Atuat. While the entire clan sleeps in a tent, puja secretly pushes up to Amaqjuat, who cannot resist the temptation and attends puja. Amaqjuat's wife wakes up, screams in horror and there is almost a violent argument between all family members. Puja's arrogant, lazy, scheming and authoritarian nature had already met with rejection from the other two women and led to Atuat's complaint to Atanarjuat. Puja flees to Sauri's tent and announces there that her husband wanted to kill her, although she had done nothing. In this opportunity, Oki sees his chance to finally settle the old score with Atanarjuat and his brother and forges a murder plot. He is actively supported by his sister Puja, who is ruefully trying to get back into the Atanarjuats family. You will be forgiven. A short time later, she lures Atuat and her sister-in-law away from the tent in which the brothers, who have just returned from a strenuous hunt, have unsuspectingly laid down to sleep.

Oki and his two cronies try to kill the brothers in their sleep. Amaqjuat is stabbed to death. The completely naked Atanarjuat flees into the freezing cold. He shakes off his pursuers and runs until he collapses unconscious. He is discovered by an old Inuit couple who had separated from the group for a long time. The old man is the brother of Sauri's mother. His family hides the injured and exhausted Atanarjuat from Oki under a pile of algae. Oki believes Atanarjuat died on the ice and tries to persuade his father to give him Atuat as his wife. Sauri refuses because he is not convinced of Atanarjuat's death. Oki then raped Atuat and murdered his father during the hunt the next winter. He tells the clan at home that Sauri tripped and fell into his own knife. With Oki as the new leader, Atuat is doing very badly. You and your child are hungry and are no longer supported by others.

One day Atanarjuat returns with his rescuers. He lures Oki and his companions into an igloo with a smoothly polished ice floor and first treats them with fresh meat. Later he attacks. Because he wears crampons made of caribou antlers, he can move more safely on the smooth surface and wins the fight. However, he does not kill Oki, but declares that the killing must end. The community waiting outside appoints Atanarjuat as the new leader. In an evening ritual, the shaman drives away the evil spirits of the past. Oki and his followers are banished.


  • The lexicon of international films described the film as taciturn , exciting and a classic .
  • According to Dirk Schneider at iminform, the film is vivid with exotic-looking images , which makes a significant and entertaining contribution to the preservation of Inuit traditions .
  • Cinema described the film as a long, but visually stunning festival hit .
  • Roger Ebert said in the Chicago Sun-Times that it was an amazing epic film ( "an astonishing epic film" ).
  • praised the work as a breathtaking film epic from the vastness of the Arctic, in which centuries-old narrative traditions are revived.

Awards (selection)

Background information

The film was shot in the northern Canadian territory of Nunavut on Iglulik. The budget was approximately $ 1,960,000 .

The film premiered on May 13, 2001 at the Cannes International Film Festival . In Germany it was first seen in the official film program at Documenta11 in Kassel on July 28, 2002. It opened in German cinemas on December 12, 2002.

The film was Canada's official nomination for Best Foreign Language Film for an Oscar (2002) but was not nominated.

The word Atanarjuat means faster runner in Inuktitut .

In the film credits, two deceased crew members are honored: Amelia Angilirq (1957-2000), who was responsible for the continuity, and the screenwriter and producer Paul Apak Angilirq (1954-1998).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Atanarjuat - The legend of the fast runner. In: Lexicon of International Films . Film service , accessed March 2, 2017 .Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used 
  2. movie review from Dirk Schneider at, Nov./Dez. 2002
  3. ^ Cinema
  4. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times ( Memento of the original dated February 2, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /