The Journals of Knud Rasmussen Reviews

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"It puts so much into context: When you hear Inuit and First Nations people talk about cultural genocide, this is what it looks like." - Mari Sasano, Edmonton Journal

Edmonton Journal - Mari Sasano 061006

"The real drama is in the sorrowful disappearance of shamanism, Aua and his small tribe’s way of life, tradition, and source of comfort and joy. The very last scene, in which Aua, desperate to join forces, so as to share in their much-needed provisions, with an Inuit Christian tribe, reminded me of my response to Tarkovsky’s The Sacrifice: puzzled or downright alienated by the preceding action, the climax stuns with such emotional and visual impact that everything that has come before gets brilliantly illuminated. It’s an unforgettable moment, one that seems to piercingly express the destruction of an entire people’s culture." - Michael Joshua Rowin, Reverse Shot

Reverse Shot - Michael Joshua Rowin 061005

"The experience of watching The Journals of Knud Rasmussen is unexpectedly powerful — this is a film that works on the soul more than the brain.... It’s enough to say that trust in Cohn and Kunuk’s understated and risky approach pays off. This film is a rare and shattering look at an indigenous community facing its own cultural extinction. And the emotional wallop of beholding that struggle reverberates for days that follow." Rachel Giese, - Rachel Giese 060929

"Kunuk and Cohn's film is filled with song, prompted both by anthropological curiosity (both Avva and Rasmussen ask the other to sing) and real-world events; the Inuit people seem to use song to express joy, sadness, and the grey area in between. Because the lyrics are almost never translated, the songs work on the audience as pure sound and emotion, and affect us on a very fundamental level. They bypass the brain and go straight to another, more basic part of our consciousness, acting with a totally unexpected power (and it's no accident that the dirge-like prayers sung by the converted Christians are the most jarring and exhausting in the film). The same is true of the emotions on display." Martha Fischer, Cinematical

Cinematical - Martha Fischer 060909

"When it appears that the yarn's disparate strands are unrelated and unfocused, the film-makers exact an
extraordinary sleight of hand.... It occurs so quickly and organically it cannot help but leave one breathless. What
translated as random and sometime anecdotal crystallises into major tragedy and one's early reservations are
largely reduced to petty carping." Len Klady, Screen Daily

Screen Daily - Len Klady 060908

"The Journals is a film shot with high definition cameras by a nomadic people with no written history, but a rich and ancient oral culture....We may find the lack of formal film structure odd, but there is no mistaking its message. In abandoning the old ways - in effect, the film states, being starved unto Jesus - the Inuit lost the crucial sense of community that afforded them a living in the snow and ice. They lost their way, and became refugees, on their own land, in one of the richest countries on Earth. No wonder Toronto's suits were squirming." 4 Stars, John Griffin, Montreal Gazette

Montreal Gazette - John Griffin 060929

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