Every one of us breathes, eats, and shits for a time. For some, that is enough to fill a lifetime, for a mission statement and contentment. For some it isn’t.
Aaju Peter is definitely – and even according to her own words – in the latter category. Peter is a lawyer, a lover, a human rights activist, a mother, a grandmother, and an Inuit. For seven years, we follow Peter’s life from fishnet laundry to the halls of the UN and from the dentist’s office to the breathtaking views of Greenland. Director Lin Alluna captures Peter’s wild dance to Tina Turner, readings of harsh statistics, and the impenetrable sorrow when news of her son’s suicide reach her. Advancing simultaneously as a story of an individual and a community, the monster in the closet, the framing device, and the living nightmare of the story is colonialism, which has not disappeared anywhere over the years – not even from Finland.
Peter was born in Greenland to an Inuit family, but as a gifted child, she was flown to Denmark for school, as was customary. The event does not remain the only act of violence that Peter faces. She cannot even get a coffee from Starbucks, let alone drink it in public, because the symbol is too modern for a viewer with a certain image in their mind – and even journalists. Putting it to words herself, Peter describes the space given to Indigenous peoples as life in a straitjacket. And her mission is to Houdini it.
Minna Saarinen (translated by Inari Ylinen)
Content warning: discussions of suicide