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Map of the Human Heart (1993)

Cast: Jason Scott Lee, Jason Scott Lee, Anne Parillaud, more...
Director: Vincent Ward, Vincent Ward
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Miramax
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Romance, Costume Drama/Period Piece, British Drama, UK, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 109 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish
    see additional details...

A white, Inuit boy named Avik is the focus of New Zealand director Vincent Ward's meditation on race and romance. In the opening moments of the movie, set in 1931 in the Arctic-Canadian settlement Nunataaq, Avik (portrayed initially by Robert Joamie) lives under the watchful eye of his grandmother (Jayko Pitseolak). While tagging along after British cartographer Walter Russell (Patrick Bergin), Avik falls prey to the "white man's disease,"--tuberculosis; to assuage his own guilt, Russell takes the boy to a Montreal clinic to recover. There, Avik meets Albertine, a mixed-blood Indian girl, and the two fall in love, but their relationship is quickly broken up by the Mother Superior who is in charge of the clinic. Years later, Avik again meets Russell, who this time is on a mission to recover the German U-boat lying wrecked off the coast of Nunataaq. Avik asks for Russell's help in learning the whereabouts of Albertine, and he gives the cartographer a chest X-ray of the girl which he has carried with him since their separation. More time elapses, and Avik (now played by Jason Scott Lee) has become a British bombardier fighting in World War II. He is sought out by Albertine (Anne Parillaud), who has become Russell's mistress. Still, she begins an affair with Avik; Russell soon finds out, and as revenge sends Avik and his crew on a suicide mission of which Avik is the lone survivor. Despondent over his war experiences, Avik flees to Canada, where he becomes an alcoholic; decades later, he is sought out by Rainee (Clotilde Courau), the daughter born from his affair with Albertine. On his way to the girl's wedding, Avik is killed in an accident; his body washes up on the beach at Nunataaq, a wedding gift still clutched in his arms. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Don't Overlook This One by squad August 18, 2004 - 3:32 PM PDT
9 out of 9 members found this review helpful
"Map of the Human Heart" contains elements of other Arctic films like "The Fast Runner" and "Smilla's Sense of Snow", as well as the most amazing footage of aerial bombing in WW II that I have ever seen. The two main characters are made very appealing by both sets of actors portraying them as children and adults. From the beginning we are introduced to a broken man with a tale to tell. As with many survivors the tattered shell of a man is akin to a tossed and worn treasure chest containing within memories of a heroic journey. This was for me a very emotional film to watch, as its title suggests, close to the heart all the way through. If you have fascination with the anthropology of Northern peoples, the horror and heroism of WW II, the interaction of native peoples with Caucasians, an appreciation of aviation and aerial photography, and a good old fashion love story; then "Map of the Human Heart" is sure to please.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.46)
35 Votes
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