Pancouver-Logo

Become a Cultural Navigator

Become a Cultural Navigator

Tautuktavuk (What We See) delivers palpable chemistry between Inuk sisters coping with fallout from colonialism

Tautuktavuk
Saqpinak (Carol Kunnuk) works as a broadcaster in Nunavut in Tautuktavuk (What We See),

There’s a scene of utter normality very early in the film Tautuktavuk (What We See). Two Inuk sisters, Saqpinak (Carol Kunnuk) and Uyarak (Lucy Tulugarjuk), go grocery shopping by themselves in different parts of Canada. Saqpinak is at the Co-op in Igloolik, a snow-blanketed hamlet in Nunavut close to the Melville Peninsula. Her sister is in snowy Montreal.

After returning home, they connect over Zoom to express their love for one another. They also joke in Inuktitut about the distance that Saqpinak must travel to buy her food. The sisters’ smiles are as bright as the Northern Lights.

But what’s unfolded in their lives is anything but normal to middle-class folks living in Southern Canada. Uyarak is in therapy in the big city to cope with the effects of a traumatic incident involving a priest in her home community. Meanwhile, Saqpinak keeps busy as a a broadcaster reporting on community activities.

Tautuktavuk (What We See) often comes across like a documentary as Saqpinak and Uyarak share their thoughts on a wide range of topics. They discuss everything from raising children to how police always believed the priests who denied sexually abusing their parents.

Tautuktavuk (What We See),
Uyarak (Lucy Tulugarjuk) suffers flashbacks as a result of trauma in her past.

Moreover, through Saqpinak’s reporting on the tundra, viewers learn a great deal about their culture. The film shows how hunters lure seals to the shore. Other segments address the cultural significance of tattooing, ajaajaa songs, and swaying drum dancing.

According to the filmmakers, the title, Tautuktavuk, ends with a “k” to reflect that it represents two people’s point of view of the world.

Kunnuk and Tulugarjuk co-directed Tautuktavuk (What We See) in addition to starring in it. They’re no newcomers to filmmaking—and it certainly shows. Kunnuk directs and produces the TV show Welcome to My Qammag and her film credits include Attagatuluk and Being Prepared. Tulugarjuk directed Tia and Piujuq and acted in Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, among other films.

tautuktavuk
The Zoom calls between the sisters make the film sometimes feel like a documentary.

There’s palpable chemistry and plenty of warmth on-screen between the two lead characters. While their dialogue might be fictitious, there’s an incredible ring of truth about how Tautuktavuk (What We See) depicts the lives of Inuit people.

The film also benefits from spectacular cinematography, riveting throat singing, and authentic performances from the many supporting cast members. It’s a must-see for anyone curious to learn more about the effects of colonialism on the Indigenous Peoples of the North.

The VIFF Centre will screen Tautuktavuk (What We See) from March 15 to 20 and on March 22. For tickets and more information, visit the VIFF Centre website.

Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

Take Action Now

Pancouver fuels creativity and promotes a more inclusive society. You can contribute to support our mission of shining a spotlight on diverse artists. Donations from within Canada qualify for a tax receipt.

Share this article

Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

Subscribe

Tags

Related Articles

The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam Indian Band), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish Nation), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation). With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.

The Society of We Are Canadians Too created Pancouver to foster greater appreciation for underrepresented artistic communities. A rising tide of understanding lifts all of us.

© 2023 The Society of We Are Canadians Too Privacy Policy | Terms and Conditions

We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.