Friday, January 1, 2010

The Snow Walker

Watch the movie first and then you can read my interpretation of the movie and what I took from it.  I will spoil the movie for you so stop reading now if you desire to see the movie without knowing how it unfolds.

This movie taps into the soul of the world.  It is what life is (or should be) all about.  It is the story of a fall from grace and the chance at redemption.  Charlie is a brash, cocky pilot in the Northwest Territories in Canada.  He is a good guy and he has lived a successful life.  But he is also quick to temper and quite prideful.  He is attached to material life.

He is goes on what is supposed to be short journey to do business with some Inuits, but in the course one of the tribe's girls is sick and he is bribed with ivory to take her to the hospital.  On the way back the plane fails and crashes.  They are stuck in the middle of nowhere with no radio and little supplies.  This is his fall from grace.

He decides to leave her behind and seek help promising to send back help.  On the way he finds thath it is tough going.  He loses parts to his gun leaving it unusable and his boots are wearing away.  He wakes up one day to a swarm of mosquitoes or some type of pest.  One could look at this as a sign of darkness relative to the locusts swarms in scripture.  I would call this his false journey, one that is full of pride which is deemed to fail because of his blindness to reality.  He is at the mercy of nature and must not fight it.  He looks as though he is soon to face death when the Inuit girl he left behind comes to save him. 

She growing up in a culture that uses the earth and all it provides to the fullest potential begins to heal him.  She is the spirit that will help him walk the path back to grace.  If he opens up to her and they work together she can bring him redemption.  When he sees all that she is capable of as in hunting, fishing, etc. he begins to respect her and they start to bond.

They end up getting to a point where they think no one will see them and decide to go back to the plane crash.  She is in her element but yet she is sick so they both must co-create.  They both take care of each other.  Even though she is sick she pushes herself to go the extra mile.  She labors for hours on end to make him boots and skins to protect him from the elements.  She is the epitome of selfless.

Towards the end she becomes too sick to walk and starts throwing up blood.  This is where he shows his new found spirituality and selflessly builds a sled to drag her behind him as they seek to find civilization.  She becomes resigned to the fact that she will die.  She is not scared as she knows this is simply part of the cycle of life.

At home Charlie is pronounced dead just around this same time when he is taking care of her.  His boss gives his eulogy with a poem by a fallen soldier (he was also a solider).  The symbolism here is that Charlie is indeed dying, he is dying to his old self.  His selflessness in trying to save this girl brings about a whole new person.  I also love the symbolism as she dies.  The moon where the God of Death reigns supreme is shown but subsequently the sun is shown as well.  This is symbolizing the darkness of death and re-birth of light that the sun brings.  He buries her in a tomb of rocks as they had previously done for a pilot they found crashed.  He leaves her tools with her body as she will need them in the afterlife just as she taught him to do for the fallen pilot.  He is showing his new found love and respect for life.

Being reborn he goes along on his own (you cannot reach heaven unless you leave mother and father).  The journey home must be one in solitude.  He reaches a Inuit settlement and the picture you get with him and his gear horizontally across his back is one of a cross.  As in the Christ is coming home.  When he approaches the tribe they embrace in a circle.  This is the atonment or becoming one with the Father.  He completes the journey from prideful, materialistic man, shedding this with the help of the spirit of mother nature (the teacher/mentor/guardian angel), and from his hard journey through the wilderness where he developed humility and selflessness becomes One with all that is.

In the beginning after his fall he had a false faith that was in himself.  Because his faith was errantly in himself he falls even farther to the brink of death.  With lost faith in himself he resigns himself to death.  If he cannot do it himself (selfishly) then there is no way in his mind.  The girl comes along and bestows a different type of faith on him.  The faith in the spirit.  You must not fight nature but work with it.  As in we cannot make the journey out of death (as in the material world detached from God) unless we have the spirit working with us.  Everything is a co-creative process.  If you work in self then you are already dead.  If you work with/in God you have eternal life.

There is a part in the movie where another pilot who is jealous of Charlie says as they are searching for him that Charlie is dead to his co-pilot, that anyone who crashes out there is as good as dead, end of story.  So you can look at the Inuit girl as God.  Without her he would have been dead and that is essentially a fact.  With God on your side you can never count anyone out.

She is the Christ.  She died so that he could have his salvation.  This is her selfless act to him.  The process started because he agreed to take her to get medical help.  It wasn't selfless as he did it for monetary gain, but he could have said no altogether leaving her to certain death.  In the process each of them needing each other become one.

To find salvation for himself he must take the cross upon himself and die to self as well.  Her dying is as if to say that because of his selfless act he is now worthy to bear the cross and carry the message on to the rest of the world.

It's just a really great movie that I didn't expect much out of.  I hope you can enjoy it as much as I did and look at it from the perspective of the journey of the hero, Christ's journey through matter back to heaven.

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