Map of the Human Heart

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
By engaging such unfamiliar cinematic topics as the Inuit community and cartography, Vincent Ward's Map of the Human Heart is in many ways a highly original film. But its insights are only slightly above average, so it doesn't have the lingering impact it should. Eager to turn the separated lovers, played earnestly by Jason Scott Lee and Anne Parillaud, into the stuff of epic tragedy, Ward makes the curious decision to have Avik's surrogate father (Patrick Bergin) become his rival, the result of a multitude of chance meetings. This seems to be a comment on the two-faced nature of Avik's white savior, and hence the civilized world in general, which Avik enters by betraying his simpler Inuit roots. But it plays more as a case of heaping irony upon irony, drawing attention to Ward's exaggerated ruminations on fate: Once Avik is, improbably, reunited with his childhood love, she's in the arms of the very man who made the reunion possible. Ward's film is best when providing the thoughtful details of their romance, from the innocence of their giggly Catholic school bonding, to their wartime meeting in the domed ceiling of a building that may be bombed at any moment. Any film that stages a passionate tryst atop a hot air balloon -- not in the passenger area, mind you, but actually on top -- definitely has a certain uniqueness. Ultimately, Lee and Parillaud give Map of the Human Heart enough emotional resonance to carry it past its clumsier metaphors and thematic over-stretching.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 12/6/2011
  • UPC: 096009774899
  • Original Release: 1993
  • Rating:

  • Source: Miramax Echo Bridge
  • Time: 1:49:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jason Scott Lee Avik
Anne Parillaud Albertine
Patrick Bergin Walter Russell
Robert Joamie Young Avik
John Cusack The Mapmaker
Annie Galipeau Young Albertine
Jeanne Moreau Sister Banville
Ben Mendelsohn Farmboy
Clotilde Courau Rainee
Jerry Snell Boleslaw
Griffith Brewer Homeguard
Kliment Denchev Doctor on Boat
Bronwen Mantel Woman Guest
Monique Spaziani Nurse Beatrice
Harry Hill X-Ray Doctor
Mark Ruel Photo Analyst
Charlotte Coleman Julie
Richard Zeman Military Policeman
Minor Mustain Army Sergeant
Gordon Masten Capt. Johns
Technical Credits
Vincent Ward Director, Co-producer, Original Story, Screenwriter
George Akers Editor
Renee April Costumes/Costume Designer
John Beard Production Designer
Linda Beath Co-producer
Tim Bevan Producer
Graham Bradstreet Executive Producer
Richard Conway Special Effects
Kate Dowd Casting
Horton Foote Screenwriter
Michele Forest Set Decoration/Design
Pedro Gandol Asst. Director
Redmond Morris Associate Producer
Louis Nowra Screenwriter
Penny Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Lucie Rubitaille Casting
Sylvaine Sainderichin Co-producer
Paul Saltzman Co-producer
John Scott Editor
Eduardo Serra Cinematographer
Jean Baptiste Tard Art Director
Micheline Trepanier Makeup
Frans Vandenburg Editor
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Timothy White Co-producer
Gabriel Yared Score Composer
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