The role of religion has been a major factor of every culture for as long as anyone can remember. The feeling of togetherness that comes with belonging to a group of people that believe in the same ideas and a central entity defines a person and the way they see the world. Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner shows the impact of a certain belief on a tribe of Eskimos in Igloolik, a village in Eastern Arctic wilderness, at the dawn of the first millennium. An evil curse was said to be following one member of the tribe, Oki, because of his jealousy of Atanarjuat. The film follows the lives of these two men and the conflicts they have as they grow older. It also focuses on the spiritual ideas that drive both Oki and Atanarjuat, and their other tribe members, to drastic actions.
From the beginning, the curse is embedded into the film successfully, as it helps explain why certain things happened to Atanarjuat and Oki. The curse was portrayed by a sound effect whenever a person was affected by it. Without that effect, the idea of the curse may not have come across as well, and might even have been forgotten until the end. As well as the curse was portrayed, the reason for it coming about was a bit confusing for viewers who were not used to the language and style of the film. Years before the story of Atanarjuat and Oki, a shaman predicts that a curse will be brought on by Tulimaq. By no coincidence, camp leader, Kumaglak, died in a duel and his rightful successor, Tulimaq, was passed over and Sauri was given the title. Tulimaq does not take this well, accusing Sauri of helping murder his father. Tulimaq becomes a laughing stock and cannot feed his wife and kids, Atanarjuat and Amaqjuaq, though he gets help from his friend, Panikpak, widow of Kumaglak. It was hard to understand what exactly caused the curse and why Tulimaq was the one burdened by it with the way the story was told. The quick scenes and unclear dialogue were not exactly helping in telling this...
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