TIFF Film: Maliglutit (Searchers)
Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) returns with this Arctic epic inspired by the classic John Ford western of the same name, about a vengeful husband who sets off in pursuit of the violent men who kidnapped his wife and destroyed his home.
Fifteen years ago, Inuk filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk won the prestigious Caméra d’or for Best First Feature at Cannes with Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner. His second feature, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, opened TIFF in 2006. A decade later, Kunuk and collaborator Natar Ungalaaq have used the plot of John Ford’s 1956 western The Searchers as inspiration for a very different kind of revenge story, in which an Inuk man and his band of maliglutit ("followers") set out across the barren Arctic in search of the marauders who have ransacked his home and kidnapped his wife. Like Ford’s film, Kunuk's Maliglutit (Searchers) explores the repercussions of violence, asking whether these hunters have begun to act like those who have torn apart their family. Very unlike Ford, Kunuk questions not only the colonial ideology inherent to the western genre, but also the possibility of justice in a seemingly unjust world. With a tale as timeless as the landscape in which it is set, Canada’s foremost Inuk filmmaker has provided us with another classic.