Directed by Charles Martin Smith
Starring Barry Pepper and Annabella Piugattuk
2003 - a DVD Review
This wonderful film is based on the short story, "Walk Well, My Brother", which appears in an anthology of short stories titled, "The Snow Walker", written by Canadian icon, Farley Mowat. (We have this book at the library.) This story takes place in 1953 in northern Canada. We’re introduced to the main character, Charlie Halliday, in a rowdy bar. Charlie, played by Barry Pepper, is an arrogant, loud, heavy drinking, bush pilot. After a night of carousing he’s off on a job flying two businessmen to a remote location. On his return, Charlie lands on an island where an Inuit family convinces him to fly a young woman, sick with tuberculosis, to Yellow Knife. He agrees only after being paid with ivory tusks. Charlie and Kanaalaq, played by Annabella Piugattuk, crash in an uncharted lake on the frozen tundra. As the story unfolds, we are treated to the beautiful, spare, landscape of the arctic. Charlie is at a total loss in this wilderness. Kanaalaq, in her weakened state, demonstrates her skill for survival, saving Charlie’s life as he is overcome by nature’s cold winds, deep mud, swarms of mosquitoes, and starvation. With grace and wisdom Kanaalaq teaches Charlie how to live on the tundra, by hunting and fishing for food, sewing clothes, and working with nature. Charlie comes to admire and respect Kanaalaq and the customs and beliefs of the Inuit, a sharp change from his previous stance. The story is very moving, powerful and visually stunning. Check it out at the library! The call number is DVD 791.43 S.