In the short film “Tungijuq,” Filmmakers Paul Raphael and Félix Lajeunesse shed new light on the seal hunt. The work focuses on the spiritual aspect of this activity among the Inuit, using a combination of digital animation and traditional film.
The project took shape after the filmmakers met with Tanya Tagaq, an Inuit singer and musician. “She wanted to participate in a film that could translate into images what she is already doing through throat singing,” explained Félix Lajeunesse. “This type of song is inspired by the relationship between man and nature that surrounds him. ”
The film shows how the spirit of a seal, having been consumed, continues to live through an Inuit woman (played by Tanya Tagaq). The latter has also composed the soundtrack for the film, which offers a unique combination of traditional Inuit music and contemporary jazz.
The film takes place in the complete absence of dialogue. “We are trying to produce open movies, not manifestos, but also leave the viewer time to think,” says Mr. Lajeunesse. Photography, makeup and set design have been carefully planned and highlight the cultural importance of this controversial hunt.
The film “Tungijuq” was an official selection at Sundance 2010 and has also won an award at the 2009 imagineNATIVE Festival. Both Raphael and Lajeunesse are from Montreal and together have produced several music videos and commercials.