Life in Canada’s frigid Arctic climate isn’t easy. Aside from the bone-chilling temperatures, the high-priced food and the isolated environment, it’s also tough to maintain a family’s balance, especially when a dark history is involved.
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In the Canadian drama “Uvanga,” co-directed by Marie-Helene Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, main character Anna (Marianne Farley) is nervous when she and her son, Tomas (Lukasi Forrest), arrive in the small, close-knit community of Igloolik in the Canadian Arctic.
Anna had a short-lived affair with Tomas’ Inuk father when she worked in Igloolik. But Tomas, now 14 years old, was born and raised in his mother’s native city of Montreal and never knew much about his origins. Tomas is bright, strong, and curious about his father’s culture, but his father is no longer around to show him the way.
For Tomas’ mother and Inuit family, the joy of his homecoming is mixed with memories of a brief and painful chapter in their shared history. Over the course of two weeks that seem to blend into one long day under the midnight sun, Anna and Thomas strive to rebuild the family they could no longer ignore.
“Uvanga” means “myself”, and the movie was shot entirely in Nunavut. Cousineau and Ivalu, as a duo, won Best Canadian First Feature at the Toronto Film Festival in 2008 for “Le jour avant le lendemain.”
“Uvanga” premieres on April 18, 2014 in theatres across Canada. (Release date is subject to change.)