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average rating is 4 out of 5


Amber Jackson


Posted on:

Nov 1, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Anders Walter
Written by:
Anders Walter
Angunnguaq Larsen, Nivi Larsen, Mila Heilmann Kreutzmann

Trigger warning: this short film contains suggestions of abuse.


“I am the only one who knows where you are”


Ivalu has vanished. Her indifferent family assume that she has run away, but younger sister Pipaluk is very concerned about where she could be. Searching the vast landscapes of Greenland, Pipaluk is intent on discovering the truth of what happened to Ivalu. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel with the same name, Ivalu is an OSCAR-qualified film and one of mystery and heartache that places sisterhood at its heart.


Pipaluk is equally suspicious and heart-broken as no one seems to care that her beloved sister has disappeared without a trace. Anders Walter’s story progresses quickly within this short film as the young girl desperately searches for Ivalu amongst nature. Awe-inspiring cinematic shots showing the natural wonders of Greenland are vast and powerful. The viewer is shown the small rural town where both sisters grew up and amongst the beauty and the vastness of this great land there is the pain of Pipaluk’s search. Flashbacks and memories of the two girls perforate the screen and show how they used to play and explore their homeland. The beauty of the hills, the fjord and the ice cave where they grew up together are now all tainted with a type of permanent sadness. Walter captures Pipaluk’s moving reality most overwhelmingly – enough to force the viewer to join in the search for Ivalu too.


As it progresses, this short becomes darker and even more chilling. Audiences are given more questions than answers about what happened to Ivalu before she disappeared and we, like Pipaluk, struggle to find her against the vastness and emptiness of the world ahead. Nature is well and truly cemented as the one constant of the film, as it is always breath-takingly beautiful and the only reminder to the young protagonist of her lost sister. The mountains and waters hold onto her legacy and give Pipaluk hope that there is peace at the end of this journey.


Pipaluk can only imagine the true extent of what happened to her sister and yet she will not rest. Until she finds her, she continues raging against the elements and we truly realise the deep love that she has for her sister. Yet, amongst the personal tragedy, there is a peacefulness to Pipaluk’s journey – a type of acceptance reminiscent of a coming-of-age story. Ivalu guided her through life and towards the precipice of adulthood and now that she is gone Pipaluk must now make her own journey. Heart-wrenching in every way, this film still manages to convince the viewer to appreciate the beauty of the world around them. And remember that a bond between two siblings is worth everything.


It is yet to be announced if Ivalu will be on the OSCAR shortlist, but it is certainly a worthy contender.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
Short Film
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