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Before Tomorrow

A mesmerizing tale of survival in the Arctic

An Inuit boy and his beloved grandmother struggle to survive the Arctic wilderness in Before Tomorrow, a profound, elemental and hauntingly beautiful period drama that makes an intimate story of endurance into a metaphor for an entire culture. Directed by Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu, it’s the first feature from the Arnait Video Collective, a group dedicated to documenting the unique knowledge and perspectives of Inuit women. Set circa 1840 in Canada’s far north, the action unfolds at a time when some Inuit populations had yet to encounter white people. During a summer gathering of various clans, those who did come in contact describe the peculiar ways of the strange foreigners and show off the strong needles and sharp knives obtained from them. Made uneasy by this contact with outsiders, wise elder Ninioq (Ivalu) and her ailing friend Kuutujak (Mary Qulitalik) take on the task of drying their clan’s cache of fish in preparation for the long winter. They’re accompanied to the isolated island designated for this chore by Ninioq’s bright eyed, 10-year-old grandson, Maniq (Paul-Dylan Ivalu). Maniq’s father promises to fetch them before the water freezes over, but as the fall hunting season ends and he fails to return, Ninioq finds her worst fears confirmed. Incorporating themes including the cycle of life and the history of contact between aboriginal peoples and European settlers, the deceptively simple script brilliantly reflects the cultural and spiritual values of the Inuit. In particular, the traditional stories Ninioq tells her grandson take on a heart-rending resonance. Graced by unadorned performances from Madeline Ivalu (a featured player in Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner and The Journals Of Knud Rasmussen), her real-life grandson and the supporting cast, the acting feels appropriately timeless yet emotionally precise. – Alissa Simon, Variety
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Directed by: 
Marie-Hélène Cousineau & Madeline Ivalu
Running Time: 
Inuktitut with English subtitles
Madeline Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Paul-Dylan Ivalu, Mary Qulitalik, Tumasie Sivuarapik
Screenplay by: 
Susan Avingaq, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, based on the novel by Jørn Riel

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