And we have our first feature length film; a documentary about the life and mysterious death of Solomon Tapatia Uyarasuk.
In the remote town of Igloolik, Nunavut in 2012, Solomon was found dead in an RCMP detachment. The police claimed he committed suicide, but some people suspect murder. The family wants to know the truth. That’s where Directors Marie-Helene-Cousineau and Susan Avingaq come in. Over the course of 79 minutes, Cousineau and Avingaq look into the mysterious circumstances of Solomon’s death and how it impacted his family. They also give us an intimate portrait of Solomon himself, a young and troubled Inuk man who became a suicide prevention advocate and an amateur acrobat. But most of all, they examine the epidemic of suicides in the North.
The film works on three levels. The first level is a true crime murder mystery. Through investigation and interviews, it becomes increasingly unlikely Solomon’s death was a suicide. First of all, as Solomon’s mother points out, the police will take away any time that could be used to inflict self-harm, including belts. Plus, the police keep watch every five to ten minutes. She should know. She had been incarcerated for public drunkenness more than once, unfortunately. “How can he make himself a lasso and hang himself in 5 minutes.” Then there are the contradictory statements by the police. First they claim he hung himself by belt, and then they make a statement stating he hung himself by shoelace and then the police report says he hung himself “with a nylon belt.”