Quarantine entertainment featuring minority languages

COVID-19 has us all looking for alternative entertainment to fill the long days and evenings. We thought it would be a good opportunity to check out some media that feature minority and endangered languages, as well as alternative approaches to storytelling. Here are our top picks.

Enjoy, and let us know what you think!

Sami Blood (2016)

Sami Blood (Swedish: Sameblod) is a 2016 Swedish coming-of-age drama written and directed by Amanda Kernell. The film is set in Sweden in the 1930s and concerns a 14-year-old Elle-Maria who experiences prejudice at a school for Sami children in northern Sweden, and decides to make an attempt at becoming a part of the mainstream society she looks up to, which forces her to abandon her own heritage.

Available on Amazon Prime

Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

Directed by Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, it was the first feature film ever to be written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language. The film retells an Inuit legend, revolving around Atanarjuat, whose marriage with his two wives earns him a powerful enemy, and launches a story of a vendetta that becomes a story passed through centuries of oral tradition.

Available for rent on iTunes

Ixcanul (2015)

A Guatemalan drama directed by Jairo Bustamante and narrated entirely in Kachiquel. The protagonist is a young woman, Maria. While her parents want to marry her off to a wealthy farmer, Maria is romantically involved with a boy from her village. As her lover makes plans to leave Guatemala for the United States, Maria has to face a different kind of a challenge. Ixcanul was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Available on Amazon Prime

Unorthodox (Limited series 2020)

Based on a 2012 book by Deborah Feldman, Unorthodox is a series that follows the life of Esther Shapiro, a young Hasidic Jew from New York, as she separates herself from her tight-knit community and tries to find a way of living that would truly suit her. Extensive parts of the mini-series are recorded in Yiddish.

Available on Netflix for a limited time

Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna)

Never Alone is a video game, described by its creators as “the first game developed in collaboration with the Iñupiat and narrated entirely in Iñupiat. Nearly 40 Alaska Native elders, storytellers and community members contributed to the development of the game.¨You can play as a young Iñupiat girl, or as her arctic fox companion, following them on the adventure to find the source of a blizzard which threatens their very survival. The narrative is based on an Iñupiat legend, and the game also features short videos about the different aspects of Iñupiat culture.

Available for download on mobile devices visit: http://neveralonegame.com

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