TIFF’s 16th annual Canada’s Top Ten festival gets underway tonight with a screening of Zacharias Kunuk’s Maliglutit (Searchers). The film, like eight of the nine works it shares the spotlight with, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016. Maliglutit is a reimagining of John Ford’s classic The Searchers (1956). While Ford’s film was set in the wild west and follows a Civil War veteran as he embarks on a quest to rescue his nieces from an Indian tribe, Kunuk’s (Atanarjuat The Fast Runner) is set against the landscape and culture of the Great White North. When four hunters are kicked out of their tribe for their lack of community values they go in search of women to make their own tribe. When they discover an isolated family whose patriarch is away on a hunt, the outlaws kidnap a mother and her daughter and claim them as their new wives. When the husband comes back to find his home ransacked and members of his family brutally murdered, he and his eldest son go looking for the missing women. The exciting narrative is spectacular on the big screen. Not only does Kunuk and his co-director Natar Ungalaaq capture the vast isolation of the frozen landscape, but they explore the traditions of their own people through a historically western narrative, bridging the two cultures poetically.
Other notable films featured in Canada’s Top Ten are:
Anne Émond’s Nelly, a truly artistic look at the life of troubled Quebecois writer Nelly Arcan.
Kevan Funk’s feature film directorial debut Hello Destroyer which explores the murky world of Junior league hockey and the role of enforcers in the game.
Ann Marie Fleming’s Window Horses (the Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) was one of my favourite films at TIFF16. Beautiful film about identity and self-discovery. An absolutely stunning work of animation it weaves art and poetry together for a visual feast on the big screen.
Angry Inuk is a documentary from Alethea Arnaquq-Baril which FINALLY gives a voice to the voiceless – in this case the Inuit community which is negatively impacted by the anti-sealing movement. The film premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival in 2016 where it won the Audience Award. Angry Inuk sheds light on the nature of the anti-sealing campaigns, and how the perceived “good work” done by organisations like Greenpeace, IFAW and the Humane Society actually have drastic and dire consequences for northern indigenous communities.
There’s lots of great Canadian work to check out at Canada’s Top Ten this year. The full list is included below and as part of the festival’s Canada150 celebration they are also offering free screenings and panels. To check out the full schedule and for tickets head over to www.tiff.net/canadas-top-ten/ #SeeTheNorth!
Canada’s Top Ten 2017
- Angry Inuk – Althea Arnaquq-Baril
- Hello Destroyer – Kevan Funk
- It’s Only the End of the World – Xavier Dolan
- Maliglutit (Searchers) – Zacharias Kunuk
- Mean Dreams – Nathan Morlando
- Nelly – Anne Émond
- Old Stone (Lao shi) – Johnny Ma
- Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves – Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie
- Werewolf – Ashley McKenzie
- Window Horses (The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming) – Ann Marie Flemming
Written by Vithiya Murugadas.