"Inuk": A Road Movie with Sled Dogs

Inuk Is dog-sledding and seal-hunting the solution to today's troubled youth? It may well be for title character of Mike Magidson's Inuk, an Inuit teenager haunted by the early memory of his bear-hunting father's death. Now living with his alcoholic mother in Greenland's capital, Inuk (Gaba Petersen) is sent north by a kindly social worker to the Uummannaq Children's Home, where he goes on a seal-hunting expedition on the dangerous Arctic ice, clashing with grizzled older hunter Ikuma (Ole Jørgen Hammeken). It's a universal coming-of-age story made remarkable by the fact that it's one notch above documentary: Inuk was shot on the actual northern ice, with genuine dog-sledding (which looks about as easy as cat-herding), and a cast culled from the real-life Uummannaq Children's Home as well as regional hunters doing their thing. The digital video can't really do the locations justice, but it's no less beautiful, and the movie just feels cold. A minor detail early in Inuk gives an interesting sense of the modernization of Greenland's city culture: Not only do all the teenagers listen to hip-hop through MP3 players, but when Inuk's pal Larsi (Angutitsiaq Kreutzmann) asks Inuk's opinion of a new song Larsi wrote and recorded, Inuk comments that Larsi's voice could use some tweaking. Yep, Auto-Tune has reached the frozen north.

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