Into Unknown Parts

Lisa Stevenson & Eduardo Kohn
2015 | 26 mins
Country of Production: Canada
Country and Culture Featured: Canada, Inuit
NY Premiere 

In the 1950s in the Canadian Arctic, remote-living monolingual traditional Inuit diagnosed with tuberculosis were forced by the Canadian government to leave their homes for sanitoriums thousands of miles away. This short, poetic documentary weaves together contemporary and archival footage and sound, as Inuit survivors recount their harrowing stories of how they faced displacement, isolation, and formidable cultural barriers.

Plays with Angry Inuk

Activate: My Perspective

“We often feel a kind of dread rewatching Into Unknown Parts. The violence of friendliness is so raw.  As one of the colonial agents says in a self-congratulatory way, ‘I like to think … I did have a lot of friends in communities that I’d visit … once a year.’ The assumed transparency of communication is put into question in the film, as when young Inuit children wave silently at foreign doctors traveling north to stem a tuberculosis epidemic or a husband sends messages over thousands of miles to his wife in hospital. Entering the nightmare space of colonialism, where ‘friends’ separate mothers from children to attempt a cure, by mobilizing the formal dream-like properties of montage, we hope to activate a feeling for the psychic life that colonialism takes. If this film can tap those associations of sounds and images that constitute the colonial nightmare, then we think it has succeeded."

— Lisa Stevenson | Director, Into Unknown Parts