Marie-Helene Cousineau/Madeline Ivalu
Canada, 2019, 99′
Surprised at the loss of her innocence, the young Inuk Elsa draws courage and strength from her rugged land to become a woman as independent as the restless river that cuts across it. She becomes the very young mother of a child whose surprising destiny breaks with the millennial traditions of her ancestors. Navigating the social norms of the colonizers and the reality of her own family situation, the dreariness of a relationship that is not right for her, and the rebellion of her teenage son, Elsa’s path follows the winding course of the indomitable river that accompanies her every turn in life.
Marie-Helene Cousineau in collaboration with Madeline Ivalu
Filmmaker and video artist. In 1991 she moved to Igloolik, Nunavut, and helped establish the Tarriaksuk Video Centre, the first artist-run video and film centre in the Canadian Arctic. There she met Madeline Ivalu, a unilingual Inuit elder, storyteller and seamstress. The two of them, along with Susan Avingaq, founded the women’s film collective Arnait Video Productions, with the goal of producing independent video and film from the perspective of Inuit women. First and foremost concerned with serving the cultural needs of Inuit and the community of Igloolik, the national and international success of their films comes from the universality of their themes and their deeply empathetic portrayals of strong female characters. Cousineau and Ivalu’s collaboration has led to the production of over 25 films, documentaries, television series’ and video explorations. Notable works include Before Tomorrow, Uvanga, SOL. More recently, Cousineau co-directed the feature film Angélique Isle, as well as produced the children’s feature Tia and Piujuq. Cousineau was also instrumental in the development of the Nunavut Film Commission. Restless River is her latest feature.