Planet in Focus Review: Vanishing Point

Following the journey of Navarana, a Polar Eskimo elder who lives near the northwest tip of Greenland (aka the most remote corner on earth), Vanishing Point is a lyrical exploration of the realities facing the Inuit people as societal and environmental shifts threaten their way of life.

Navarana is related to a Canadian Inuit family’s bloodline because of a local shaman’s migration across the Arctic in the 1860s. Her family in Greenland has stayed proudly devoted to their peoples’ ancient customs but Navarana can’t help but wonder how her distant Arctic cousins live. Have they embraced rapid technological and social changes over the last two centuries? She decides to investigate by setting out on hunting journeys in both her homeland and on Canada’s Baffin Island, discovering that while the two groups share much in common, they also have strikingly different lifestyles and practices that makes Navarana consider what has been lost, what has been gained and how to find a way to move forward in the world as it exists today.

Directors Stephen A. Smith and Julia Szucs capture the vast and quiet beauty of the far North, using Navarana’s contemplative odyssey as a reflection on preserving the past and society’s obsession with discarding old ways even though keeping some around may actually make better sense. Navarana is an engaging real-life character who, despite her very different-from-yours lifestyle, is easy to relate to in her genuine curiosity and desire to make her world, and that of her family, a better place. The film is shot cinema vérité-style which further gives the audience a window into the Inuit world and the way that the warming climate is an elemental force affecting their daily lives in a very profound way. It’s a unique perspective on a much talked about (and much ignored by most of the general public) issue.

Is Vanishing Point Essential Planet in Focus Viewing?

Definitely.   Aside from the gorgeous photography and the fascinating look at Inuit life, this is a film that makes you think about how your own life might be affected by the ever-worsening environmental realities and how you would adapt in the shifting world.

Vanishing Point Screening Times

  • Friday, October 12, 2012 at 9:15pm at TIFF Bell Lightbox




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Kristal Cooper

Kristal Cooper has been a film buff since the age of two when her parents began sneaking her into the drive-in every weekend. Since then, she's pursued that passion by working for the Toronto International Film Festival and the Canadian Film Centre as well as spending many a happy hour inside Toronto's wonderful theatres (she still mourns the loss of The Uptown). She is a freelance writer specializing in pop culture and feminist issues, and continues to slog away at her day job as a small cog in the giant machinery of the Toronto film community.

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