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Due March 30, 2015
Hassan Al Mousa
SOCA 105-007
The Fast Runner
The movie Atanarjuat or The Fast Runner is a great movie to study for
anthropology students. The movie simply shows a lifestyle of a group of
people living in a cold area and how they survive by helping each other. It
easily understandable and even though the language is not English, the
subtitles are. When reading what the characters are saying in the movie you
can see that they are speaking a simple language. The story is about how a
bad soul or thinking came into these people and how they dealt with it.
Despite the fact that the movie took four lectures, it was a good experience
for us, as students, to look at it like anthropologists and try to understand
how they live.
The website of the movie is very simple to use. It provides all the
resources that related to the movie from a review to cast, producers, and
other important resources that help getting deeper into understanding the
movie. What is unique about the website is the simplicity of moving in it
without getting lost because it provides the resources needed in every page. I
noticed that it even provides information on the equipment used during the
movie, as well as, how they could be used in reality.
One of the hunting examples is fishing. The way they, the group of
people in the movie, were fishing is different than the common way it is
today. In fact, nowadays, when fishing, there is lots of equipment to prepare
before going to fish. Such as having rods, sharp heads, and fish food. In
addition to that, fishing requires learning different techniques depending on
the place and the type of the fish. However, it was shown during the movie
that the way it was used is very simple using a fish spear, which they call the
forked kakivak. The problem is that they cannot go chase the fish, but they
have to have patience to get food. The other problem was that they have to
be careful when fishing because they wait on the top of frozen water, which
might break at any moment. It’s easy for them to fish after they have
Another way of hunting is by using a unaaq, or a spear, which can be
used to hunt different animals, like a polar bear, a seal, or a walrus. This way
is easier than fishing since it doesn’t require much time. However, it does
require to experience because the types of animals hunted can attack the
hunters. In other words, the hunter should be strong and smart so that he
knows when to attack and how. Once he attacks, he should use his strength
to get the animal, that’s why they usually go in groups to hunt and to get
more food. Usually, it’s the men’s job to hunt and bring the food back to the
villages. As for women, they gather it, clean it, and cook it so that the family
can eat. Which is why men tend to have a strong body to hunt or fight. They
should also use the equipment wisely to attack the animals.
The third way of hunting is by chasing animals that won’t attack the
hunters. They can either use the unaaq or the sakku, the harpoon head, which
is made of bone or ivory. These sharp weapons are easily used. When going
after a friendly animal, the hunter should understand the way it moves so
that he can get it. There should be no chance giving for the animal once it
gets closer to the hunter. Hunting this type of animals could be tricky but
once the hunter figures out how they think, it becomes much easier and it’s
easy to trap them when hunting in groups. This type of animals has lot’s of
meat which can help the village survive for about a week.
When it comes to gathering, which is usually the job for women as
mentioned earlier, it should take more time to prepare it that to cook it. Once
the men come back to the village with their food, the women take it and
starts dividing it into parts. They know how much they need for the day to
serve the village. After cleaning it, they remove the skin and the parts they
won’t eat. The skin can be used later for clothes of other reasons. While
cleaning the meat in their food, women spend their time chatting since it
takes patience for them to get it done. This process of preparing the food
might take half a day or even more. After preparing the food, people gather
to eat and women start cooking. The people in the village help each other to
survive in all possible ways.
In a nutshell, hunting and gathering is divided between men and
women in the village. Usually, men go to hunt since they are stronger and
can survive in harder conditions. It requires knowledge and experience to be
a better hunter. It’s better for them to go on groups since they can get more
food and get it faster. Both hunting and gathering requires patience in
different ways. For example, fishing requires so much time and the hunter
should not get distracted and wait for the right time to catch the food. When
it comes to gathering. Women spent the day cleaning and preparing the food
after the men brings it to the village. Once the food is clean and ready to be
cooked, people of the village meet in one place to eat and get their part of
the food. It should be divided equally. This shows that it takes time and
energy for both genders to get a good source of energy. They have to work
together in addition to survive and keep the new generation.
The moral of the story, in my opinion, is to show people how human
race survived regarding how simple of tough it is for us. The story could
take place in the past time or in the present for people with simple abilities
of a hard place to live in. Regarding the fact that there are different beliefs
and different cultures, one of the common factors for humanity is to survive.
We, usually, survive as groups because it’s easier and more efficient. By
looking at the movie, we can study it and look at it as anthropologist so that
we gather simple information on how people survive. For example, people
need to eat in addition to stay alive. In the movie, even though the ways of
hunting and gathering took much time, the village still survives because of
working as group to get the food and prepare it then cook it. Of course there
were problems in understanding each other’s, but at the end of the day they
have to solve their problems and get past it. The older people or the wiser
can help teaching the youngers to understand what are they going to face so
that they survive. All the simple problems that took place in the movie can
be found these days, maybe more complicated. We need to analyze how they
survived so we can learn how to solve our problems. We should understand
that it’s important to learn from every culture no matter how simple it is and
respect their beliefs now matter how they look like. This way we can survive
and keep living and develop our techniques so that it becomes easier for us
to live and see growth in humanity.

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