VIFF Review: “Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys” & “Arctic Defenders”
Written by Kyle Empringham
Aatsimki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys
When you think of cowboys, if you imagine rolling tumbleweeds, lassoes, and gunfights in the American southwest, Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys might change change your mind. The film profiles brothers Lasse and Arne Aatskinsi, a pair of Finnish cowboys.
Aatsinki gives you a look into the lives of reindeer herders over the course of a year. We start in the summer and fall seasons, when the reindeer are herded by the community and youngsters are trained to help out. When winter comes, reindeer are used to pull sleighs across the snowy tundra.
It’s clear that the Aatsinki family is devoted to their lifestyle. Throughout the seasons, this film shows their sense of community and devotion while keeping dialogue to a minimum. Panoramic shots of wilderness are complimented with a showcase of the brothers’ relationship with nature. It is a bond that sustains their way of life.
Aatsinki: The Story of Arctic Cowboys will be shown again on October 11 at 5pm in the VanCity Theatre. For more information, please see the VIFF website.
Arctic Defenders takes a look at the history leading up to the creation of Nunavut, Canada’s largest land claim for the Inuit people that live in our northern territory.
The story follows Quebec’s John Walker, and his life-long fascination with the cultural traditions of Canada’s Northern people. At a young age, he picked up his camera and travelled to the Arctic to experience Inuit culture firsthand.
This film, soaked in vivid images of icebergs, polar bears, and small Inuit communities, details the plight of the North over several decades. Inuit people tell stories of their friends and family members who were relocated to the Arctic by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), simply so the government could secure the land as their own. With nothing but a few items, they were abandoned by the RCMP in the frigid north, far from where they grew up.
With the resources that were available, communities were built and support was garnered from the Inuit to create Nunavut. Walker takes us through the hardships and triumphs that Inuit people experienced while exposing us to the cultural traditions that keep the spirit of community alive.
For more information, please see the VIFF website.
Kyle Empringham is a recent graduate from Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environmental Management and is the Co-Founder of The Starfish Canada.