Directors: Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, Marie-Hélène Cousineau
Featuring: Malaya Qaunirq Chapman, Magalie Lépine Blondeau, Mark Antony Krupa
Language: English; French, Inuktitut subtitled in English
Runtime: 98 minutes
The Arnait Video team behind such remarkable past festival selections as BEFORE TOMORROW (KCFF09), directors Marie-Helene Cousineau and Madeline Ivalu match the high standards they set for themselves with this moving adaptation of a late work by Gabrielle Roy. RESTLESS RIVER tells the story of Elsa (Malaya Quanirq Chapman), a young Inuk woman in 1940s-era Kuujjuaq whose plans for her future are dashed when she is sexually assaulted by an American soldier. Yet for all the hardships Elsa faces as she raises a son who feels split between two different cultures, she becomes an emblem of courage and resilience in a changing world that can be both cruel and beautiful.
MARIE-HÉLÈNE COUSINEAU is a filmmaker and video artist. In 1991 she moved to Igloolik, Nunavut, and helped establish the Tarriaksuk Video Centre, the first artist-run video and film centre in the Canadian Arctic. There she met Madeline Ivalu, a unilingual Inuit elder, storyteller and seamstress. The two of them, along with Susan Avingaq, founded the women’s film collective Arnait Video Productions, with the goal of producing independent video and film from the perspective of Inuit women. First and foremost concerned with serving the cultural needs of Inuit and the community of Igloolik, the national and international success of their films comes from the universality of their themes and their deeply empathetic portrayals of strong female characters. Cousineau and Ivalu’s collaboration has led to the production of over 25 films, documentaries, television series’ and video explorations. Notable works include Before Tomorrow, Uvanga, SOL. More recently, Cousineau co-directed the feature film Angélique Isle, as well as produced the children’s feature Tia and Piujuq. Cousineau was also instrumental in the development of the Nunavut Film Commission. Restless River is her latest feature.
MADELINE IVALU has been a key elder participant in all Arnait productions since 1991. She is well known in Nunavut as a storyteller, musician, actress and writer. She often represents Inuit women in international events though different cultural organizations like Paukktutit and the Pan-Canadian Inuit Women’s organization. She co-directed Before Tomorrow as well as Uvanga, the first and second Arnait feature-length films, with Marie-Hélène Cousineau. They were honoured with the Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015. Madeline lives in Igloolik, Nunavut.