Aki'name (On the Wall)

Aki'name (On the Wall)

| 22 min

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When Canada was preparing to welcome the world to Expo 67 in Montreal, two artists who contributed their talents were Inuit stonecarvers Kumukluk Saggiak and Elijah Pudlat. They decorated a giant mural in the Canadian pavilion, Katimavik (the meeting place). This film shows the two carvers at work on their wall and also conveys some of their impressions of life in suburbia.

Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.

"We follow two Inuit stone carvers from Cape Dorset who come to Montreal to carve soapstone works of art that will be displayed at the Katimavik building (part of the Canadian pavilion). We witness the incredible culture shock experienced by these two men and their young families while they live in Ormstown and commute to the Expo site to carry out their work. One very funny moment is the comment by one of the carvers upon seeing fake igloos built for Expo." - A. Ohayon

Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: Expo 67: 50+ Years Later

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Aki'name (On the Wall), David Millar, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    David Millar
  • producer
    Daisy De Bellefeuille
  • camera
    Rene Verzier
  • sound
    Rene Verzier
    Jacques Drouin
  • editing
    Alan Davis
  • sound editing
    Marguerite Payette
  • re-recording
    George Croll

  • None

    The carved plaster 'fresci' of Saggiak and Pudlat in La Toundra - the restaurant in the Canadian Pavilion at expo - were one of the most celebrated features of that pavilion. This film, indicative of its time, has nevertheless not lost its power half a century on to convey the separation (and occasional link) in mindset between two cultures. Sensitively and honourably constructed, it never patronizes, and Saggiak and Pudlat are able to convey through their generosity and idiosyncratic perspective their sense of place in the universe, their spiritual duty to storytelling, and their quiet fortitude in dealing with the strange syntax of the world outside their own.

    None, 22 Dec 2019

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