________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 16 . . . . April 15, 2005


Inuit Games. (My Brand New Life).

German Gutierrez (Director). Ina Fichman (La Fête Producer). Pierre Lapointe (NFB Producer). Ina Fichman (La Fête Executive Producer). Sally Bochner (NFB Executive Producer).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 2004.
23 min., 33 sec., VHS, $99.95.
Order Number: C9104 035.

Subject Headings:
Inuit - Games.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*** /4

Part of the 13-video “My Brand New Life” series, designed to help viewers gain an appreciation of other cultures, this approximately 23 ½ minute video follows a young Montreal teen to Kangiqsualujjuaq in northern Quebec as he prepares to take part in the Inuit Games. Eric spends seven days training for the competition and learning about the Inuit traditions and way of life. He meets his coach, Silas Snowball, who teaches him the basic moves in each of four games - the armpull, highkick, knuckle hop and airplane- all of which relate to hunting skills. Viewers will be amazed, as is Eric, at the level of strength and skill it takes to compete in these seemingly simple activities. The object of the various sports is explained during the practice and again at the games.

     Without the pomp and hoopla of the Olympics, the Inuit Games begin with the Opening Ceremony: an airplane fly-by, a parade of 4-wheelers and the introduction of the athletes who have come from all over Nunavut to participate. There are no team sports, and men, women, boys and girls compete. With lots of encouragement from the crowd, Eric tries his best, but, predictably, loses every competition. Nevertheless, he is presented with a medal of appreciation. As Eric is about to leave for home, he expresses his gratitude for this unique experience and states that he will never be quite the same again.

     The video is comprised of narrated footage of the people and places that Eric gets to see and “home video” style footage of Eric talking about his day, interspersed with short clips featuring quotes from kids. This format is very effective, sustaining the viewer’s interest. Viewers will get a glimpse of the arctic landscape, the houses, school and rec center, and the hotel at which Eric stays, and will follow Eric as he fishes for arctic char and digs for mussels along the shore. Although the video meets its objectives, it could have featured more than just four games. Kids will identify with Eric- he is very likeable, has a positive attitude, and uses kids’ language. There are curriculum links to physical education, health, social studies and geography. The interior of the video case is printed with lists of discussion topics, suggested pre- and post-screening activities and also matches titles in the entire series with curriculum.


Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian at Bird’s Hill School in East St. Paul, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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