“The SnowWalker” is asurvival drama movie. Written and directed by Charles Martin Smith, adaptationone of the Farley McGill Mowat short stories “Walk Well, MyBrother”. The filmtells a character-driven story and breaking down the walls of prejudice betweencultures and religions. “The Snow Walker” was nominated for several awards,including Best Motion Picture, won six Leo Awards and the BestScreenplay Adaptation by Charles Martin Smith. Barry Pepper and Annabella Piugattuk won the Best LeadMale and Woman Performance.Farley McGill Mowat (1921-2014) Canadian writer,naturalist, conservationist, an environmental advocate was born in Belleville,Ontario. He is an internationally acclaimed novelist, the author of many bookswhich have been translated into several languages.
Wrote about isolated native populations,such as the Caribou Inuits or about animal life, especially threatened species.His creation includes “Lost in the Barrens”, a winner of Canada’sGovernor General’s Award, “The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float”, “Peopleof the Deer”, “The Snow Walker”, “A Whale for theKilling”, “The Passion of Dian Fossy” and etc.”Never Cry Wolf” is Mowat’s most widelyknown book, an autobiographical story about the study of Arctic wolves and hissolo mission adventures as a biologist in the Keewatin Barren Lands in northernManitoba. The book is credited with changing the stereotypically negativeperception of wolves as vicious killers.
Mowat wrote: “We have doomed thewolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceiveit to be the mythological epitome of a savage, ruthless killer.” As an actor, Charles Martin Smith played the main rolein Never Cry Wolf. He had been affectedby involvement in making that film and decided to adopt another book of FarleyMowat, The Snow Walker, by the man, he once depicted with. He chose “WalkWell, My Brother” the short story. The reason for choosing was thesimplicity of the story, putting two different people against the elements ofthe Northwest Territories. Screenplay contains some elements from “TheBlood in their Veins” and other Farley Mowat’s stories.
Later here-released The Snow Walker. An anthology of short stories which included”Walk Well, My Brother” and preface has been featured by Smith.”Walk Well, My Brother” is about of twodifferent cultures that forcibly come together in order to remain alive in thefrozen tundra. The short story illustrates how a person can get to know fromanother person who is entirely different from them and be changed by theirarrogance and making him a good person. With a minimum of dialogue, it alsotells us the importance of not being prejudicial toward another people, cultureand religion and sends out a major message.The main protagonist is the Charlie Lavery.
He worksas a Pilot in the Yukon Territory, when the story starts. He served as aMilitary bomber pilot during the war and counted on his capability of lookingafter himself no matter what the circumstances. He is relying on technology. Asthe author says, “he was very much of the new elite that believed that anychallenge could be dealt with by good machines in the hands of skilledmen”.
Charles wasn’t familiar with the Arctic and the people that livedthere. He thought that he did not need this wisdom as long as he had hisreliability to machines. It was this ignorance made him feel revulsion them wholived there because he was not acquainted with native’s way of life.
When histrustworthy machines were no longer of use, he had no experience to fall backupon and entirely dependent on a first nation woman Konola to whom he felt deeprepugnance at first sight. His lack of ability care of himself made him toco-operate and to try to get well this person who was so foreign to him.Charlie behaves toward Konala with constant lack of courtesy over the journey.The secondary protagonist is Konala.
She is very sickwith tuberculosis. Her husband sent her to a hospital with Charlie toYellowknife. As a first nation woman, she shows respect and loyalty him overthe story, even when Charlie is mistreating her.
As a native person she hashuge experience of how to remain alive in the wilderness and like Charlie, shehasn’t had any dependence on technology. Konala values everything Charlie doesbut he does not appreciate her at all. He prefers to eat beans from a can instead of taking a nice cooked fishfrom her in order to demonstrate that he can manage things on his own. Theconflict finds a solution almost at the end of the story when Konala comes tothe aid of him, worn out in the fields and he gains her as a friend.Charlie is angry, thinks only of himself, a resentfulindividual who is self-absorbed. Furthermore, he is racist and sexist towardsKonala, due to her skin colour, because she is a woman and how she does thingsdifferently in order to stay alive in the outdoors. After the plane crashes heblames her for every single thing that goes not well.
He humiliates Konala bycalling her ” a bloody albatross around his neck” and “eat ityourself, you animal” when sheoffers him a food. Despite he had left her to die she still goes after himthroughout the Arctic in order to save him. Charlie gradually starts to showrespect this woman and he begins to realize that he was wrong. In the storyCharlie is asking himself; “Why had Konola not stayed in the relativesafety of the aircraft or else travelled north to seek her own people? What hadimpelled her… to rescue a man of another race who had abandoned her?” Itillustrates how Charles still feels discrimination toward her and reason is herrace. He cannot imagine how she would follow a man of “another race”.For Konola it is not as important and that is why she feels bounded to save hislife. Charlie is very touched by her kindness. She looked after him and treatedhim back to health even though she herself wasn’t well.
This astonished Charlesand altered him from a selfish person to a more caring one. It changed his viewof the local people and on how he behaved toward others. At the end of thestory, Konola becomes too ill and weak to care for herself. He starts to lookafter her which give us evidence about his alteration because of theircondition and for everything she has done for him.The turning point of the story happens when they meetthe bear, first vicious animal they have faced. Knowing they didn’t work welltogether earlier and it’s the main test for Charlie to see how he has finallymatured enough to respect, to help Konala out.
The main symbol of the short story is Konala’s bootswhich she was using. Knowing she is reaching her end, Konala gives the bootsshe has been fine walking in over their journey to Charlie and leaves him withthe words “Walk Well, My Brother”. They have bonded with one anotherlike brother and sister.American by birth, C.M.Smith moved to live in Vancouver,before making the “The Snow Walker”. His most notable roles as anactor are “Toady” in George Lucas’s “American Graffiti” andthe “ill-fated accountant Oscar Wallace” in Brian De Palma’s”The Untouchables”. Directing career has brought him the worldwideacclaim.
The film “Air Bud” which he directed won the Golden ReelAward. Made it one of the top grossedfilm ever made in Canada.In the film, Canadian actors played leading roles. Smithwas impressed by Barry Pepper’s performance as a baseball player “RogerMaris” in the television movie “61” and invited him to theprimary role as Charlie Halliday. Like his hero in the film, Pepper has astrong sense of adventure. When he was a child, his family sailed five years inthe waters of the South Pacific. “It takes a lot of courage,” hesays, “for a mother and father of three little boys to build a 50-footsailboat and say, “We are going to sail halfway around the world bycelestial navigation, the same way Columbus did.
And we are going to teach youabout life. ” A kind of Robinson Crusoe meets National Geographic.” “Saving Private Ryan”, Pepper played”Bible-quoting sniper”, was a life-changing film for him and continuedworking with Tom Hanks in “The Green Mile”. Pepper performed in bigHollywood production like Seven Pounds, Enemy of the State, We Were Soldiersand etc. Pepper says about the movie that “what developedwas a collective collaborative family, something he’d never experienced beforeon a set. People would really go the extra mile to try and find the perfectprop, like the pocketknife that is the only one that my character would carry.They didn’t just go out into the back of their truck and find you some piece ofjunk they used in another film.
They’d really put some love into it becausethey cared about you as a person”The most challenging part was finding the femaleco-star. He has been advised to use Asian actress as the main protagonist.Smith was looking for a young woman who could speak Inuktitut and had knowledgeof traditional ways to act Kanaalaq.
Flyers have been posted and advertisements took out in local newspapersthroughout the northern communities. “I was confident that we could findsomebody,” Smith recalls. “but the difficulty was that they, theInuit, are, generally speaking, a reticent people. I knew that if we were to goup there and contact the people in the villages in the Far North and say ‘Weare looking for an actor,’ no one would respond because they don’t answer thoseads.” It took six months until casting director met her at the local danceclub and elected after reviewed thousands of young Inuit girls. Most of themwere non-actors like Piugattuk. She has been chosen for her bilingual languageknowledge in her native language and English. Hunting ability and survivaltechniques brought believability to her role.
Several Inuit people have been recruited as extras andthe John Houston, co-producer of the movie, is one of the Inuit people and grewup in a native village.”The Snow Walker” was filmed in northern Canadianlands, with breathtaking wildlife, sparse wilderness, and crystal clear lakes.Sometimes those places were dangerous. Director had to shut down the shootingfor a day due to the storm of the gigantic horseflies, called”bulldogs,” and the infamous northern mosquitoes because could notfilm. Tundra scenes made in Churchill, Manitoba, caribou hunt in Merritt,British Columbia, aeroplane crash and other scenes in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut andThompson-Nicola Regional District, British Columbia.
Winter scenes were filmedin -28 C with wind chills going down to -45 C was part of it. “There weredays it was so excruciatingly cold that you thought that your ears wereliterally going to crack off the side of your head,” Pepper recalls.”When I came home all the skin peeled off my ears like they had been sunburned.It came off like a lizard’s skin, and they said it was from thefrostbite.
” The score of the movie is composed by Michael Dannaand Paul Intson. Elements of ethnic Inuit instruments and music been placed bytwo composers into this themes, including the Native American flute Sonoran,percussion and throat singing. We can feel Inuit special flute sound in allover “Kanaalaq’s Touch”. Symphonic underscoring nicely blends in withthe incorporated elements of exotic additions which emphases the Canadian richwilderness where Charlie meets with the tribal savagery of”Mosquito”, “Caribou Hunt” and “Charlie in theWilderness” which plays without dialogue in the film.”The Snow Walker ” is a tale of adventure and survival. A story about how the main charactersare going to survive in Northern Territories of Canada after a plane crash. Setin the 1950s, it features an arrogant white pilot, Charlie Halliday, who wasbribed with walrus tusks into taking a sick Inuit girl to a big city hospital.
He is an ignorant racist. At the opening scene of the movie, we can see how hescoffed at being called “Brother” by an Inuit. He is sexist and fancyof himself as a man’s man.
We get the sense that his “girl in every port”lifestyle is driven by a “you only live once” attitude. But things change in acrisis. Problemwith an aircraft engine, force Charlie to make a crash landing only yards fromthe shore of a lake. Luckily both of them unharmed during the crash. The radiois broken, crash place unknown to others as he made a deviation from the original route.
He sees this mysteriousnative woman as savage whose present is a heavy burden for him. Furthermore,they cannot speak each other’s language. Kanaalaq knows a little bit of Englishwhilst Charlie is not familiar with Inuktitut. Also, he has a penchant forscreaming at inanimate objects, his angry tirade against his own plane and tothe radio when he can’t fix it.
Charliethinks he can survive on his own in the wilderness. Leaving her alone behind inthe crash scene promising that will return soon with help and foolishly decidesto go on foot long way alone. But quickly discovers that he’ll have to rely onthe Inuit girl’s knowledge and skills if he is to survive the mosquitoes, theswamps, and the snow without dying of exposure or starvation. Whenhe is awakened by swarms of gigantic horseflies and mosquitoes which make himseek safety in flight over jagged rocks till falling down and becomeunconscious. It is Inuit woman’s patient care healed him, nursed his wounds andbites with herbs. Onlyafter all this, he bothers to ask her name. He starts to communicate with thisnative woman in a sense he has never done with anyone.
By the time he realizedthat how she is glorious inside and respects her as a little sister. He comes toappreciates her, this Inuit girl’s gift. Charlie grows as a mature person weare watching a transformation happens in his character as he learns not onlyhow to survive, but how to love. Thislove built on self-sacrifice and total self-gift. It is a love that Kanaalaqalmost innately possesses, as she selflessly and wordlessly feeds, clothes, andheals her companion, no questions asked.
Later in the film, these qualitiescome to the fore as she shares the story of how her mother left her starvingfamily so that her children could have her share of food and how she herself bither own wrist to let her dying sister drink her blood. Kanaalaq laughs as shetells this last bit, marvelling at how she “tricked” Tarqeq, the moon god, bysaving her sister’s life. 1WhenCharlie and Kanaalaq find a wrecked plane containing a partly burn corpse butalso a trove of tools and weapons, he does not understand, at first, whyKanaalaq refuses to go near any of the dead man’s belongings. Instead, she builds a funeral cairn for thebody and buries his tools with him. Later Charlie begins to see that people and objects have moremeaning. Kanaalaq’s self-giving loveextends even to the dead. She is willing to sacrifice a chance for survival toensure that the unfamiliar dead man will be safe in the afterlife.
Wheneveryone presumes that Charlie is dead and his boss holds a funeral service forhim. We hear a mourning speech, the loss of a life cut short in its prime oflife. We can see that this speech is notfor Charlie. It is for Kanaalaq and the words become a voice-over for scenes ofthe dying girl coughing up blood and being carried by Charlie across thesnow. It isclear that contact with Kanaalaq incredibly altered Charlie. Kanaalaq’s patientlove gives him the chance, be able to break out of his selfishness and learnhow to love. The fundamental fact of his changes is when he willingly leaveshis ivory tusks into her empty funeral grave. The price was paid by Kanaalaq’sfamily to Charlie as safe passage to bid city’s hospital in order to save herlife.
Thegrave is empty because Kanaalaq like her mother leaves Charlie at themidnight. She does not want to be aburden to him. His journey through the deepening winter might be easier withoutcaring of a dying woman. Charlie feels agreat grief for Kanaalaq. He got another lesson from her, not only how to love, but how to let himselfbe loved. Inthe opening scenes of the film, Charlie is celebrating his birthday. His girlfriend tries to give him a gift,which he postpones opening because he is eager for sex. We never do find out what was in the gift.
Charlie is called away to work before he could open it. He departs on hisfateful voyage without saying goodbye to his girlfriend. When Charlie isbelieved to be dead, we watch as his room is cleaned out and the unopened giftswept into a cardboard box.1 St.
Gregory ofNyssa’s ransom theory of atonement, which holds that Jesus’ death “tricked” thedevil and won life for the rest of mankind