Films & Schedules

  • Before Tomorrow

  • Marie-Hélène Cousineau

  • Madeline Piujuq Ivalu

93 minutes

Production Company:
Igloolik Isuma Productions/Kunuk Cohn Productions
Executive Producer:
Norman Cohn, Zacharias Kunuk
Stéphane Rituit
Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, Susan Avingaq, based on the novel Før Morgendagen by Jørn Riel
Production Designer:
Susan Avingaq
Norman Cohn, Félix Lajeunesse
Norman Cohn, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Félix Lajeunesse, Louise Dugal
Richard Lavoie, Arnaud Derimay
Kate McGarrigle, Anna McGarrigle
Principal Cast: Madeline Piujuq Ivalu, Paul-Dylan Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Mary Qulitalik, Tumasie Sivuarapik

Canadian Distributor:
Alliance Films
International Sales Agent:
Isuma Distribution International

Sunday September 0702:30PM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Tuesday September 0908:15PM VARSITY 5 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1209:30PM VARSITY 3 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Before Tomorrow is the remarkable debut feature from directors Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu. Based on the book Før Morgendagen by famed Danish author Jørn Riel, it is reminiscent of Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn's brilliant films Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (both Kunuk and Cohn serve as executive producers on Before Tomorrow). This new work poetically brings Canadian history to life onscreen.

Ningiuq (Ivalu) and her best friend Kutuujuk(Mary Qulitalik) are elders in an Inuit family in the mid-nineteenth century. During the summer, their community comes together with a neighbouring family to tell stories, marry the young and share food. But Ningiuq is worried: Kutuujukis sick and stories about the Europeans' impending advance are gaining momentum. After a particularly bountiful catch, Ningiuq, her grandson Maniq (Paul-Dylan Ivalu) and Kutuujuk volunteer to dry the fish. On a remote island away from wolves and other animals, Kutuujuk faces her final days. Ningiuq senses that all is not well at home, and when no one comes for them, Ningiuq and Maniq start the journey home themselves – only to discover that Ningiuq's worst fears may have come true.

Distilling the grand narrative of first contact into a more intimate encounter, Cousineau, Ivalu and co-writer Susan Avingaq explore how this historic event changed not only the Inuit people, but the entire world. Made in a subtle observational style that lends the film a sense of history made real, Before Tomorrow is a recasting of Canada's wilderness ethos and its representation onscreen. The use of both European and Inuit storytelling structures furthers the cinematic language established in Atanarjuat and Knud Rasmussen, and reflects the rapid development of Native cinema in Canada. An assured and captivating film, Before Tomorrow is further evidence of a people finding their cinematic voice and employing it to striking effect.

Jesse Wente

Marie-Hélène Cousineau was born in Montreal and received her M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, and an M.A. in art history from l'Université du Québec à Montréal. She is the founder of Arnait Video Productions, a video workshop for Inuit women. Before Tomorrow (08) is her first feature film.

Madeline Piujuq Ivalu has been a key elder participant in all Arnait Video Productions since 1991. She is active in several feminist networks, including Pauktuutit, a national non-profit association representing all Inuit women in Canada. An accomplished actor, Before Tomorrow (08) is her first feature as co-director.

Cadillac People's Choice Award