Twice Colonial review: Aaju Peter’s life and activism shape timely documentary
“It’s no longer a question of ‘why’,” says Aju Peter to a group of young students. “how is it.” Peter is a Greenlandic Inuit lawyer, activist and campaigner for the rights of indigenous peoples around the world. She is the quiet, confident and moving subject of Danish director Lina Alluna’s debut feature-length documentary Twice Colonized, which opened the 2023 Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival. ,read this also: Away review: Danish doctor details self-isolation concerns)
Twice Colony dives personally through his subject matter to confront the political. We are first introduced to the details of Peter’s life, how he is first born in Greenland and then sent by his parents to Denmark for school, an experience that leaves him out of his culture, which has dialogue at its core. Also included was the ability to Language. Within a few years she was married in Greenland to a Canadian Inuk, with whom she moved to Nunavut. Aluna follows these descriptions with a directness that belies her subject. There are actually moments of sporadic humor when Peter refers to his director as “her colonist”, and describes how her current abusive boyfriend whom she is struggling to leave thinks he is Alluna’s friend. is in a relationship with.
Working with cinematographers Iris Ng, David Bauer, Glauco Bermudez, Alluna allows the narrative to be punctuated by close-ups in private moments and goes for wide shots when Peter finds himself talking about indigenous rights. while doing public places, and gives a speech at the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels. Her expression of restraint is significant in a scene where she sits with change makers who talk about the difficult journey ahead. Yet, in a particularly vulnerable moment she breaks down in tears as she shows the song that her youngest son used to sing. Peter reveals that he committed suicide at a young age. There has been a tremendous increase in teen suicides over the years, she says—the hardships and humiliation her people face is a conversation no one wants to hear. Grief is the power that nourishes Peter to stand and fight today—and the twice colonized documents that with a quiet, sensible power.
The first half of Twice Colonized is strikingly poignant in first addressing how Peter’s life assimilates itself to recognizing the need for reforms regarding Indigenous rights. The second half, meanwhile, is more fragmented, focusing on her road to healing (visiting places and people in her hometown with her brother) and then marching on with her active campaign efforts. These elements are spread too far and wide, and ultimately fall short of balancing the narrative fabric of Twice Colony, leading to a call to action in several murky moments around Peter’s journey as a human rights activist. fall. Mark Buchdahl’s editing rather tries to do the consistently surprising subject justice by distilling several points into quick moments—explaining anything too deliberate serves not to raise questions and understanding. Olivier Allari, Celina Kalluk and Johannes Malfatti’s score is sparse and effective in conveying the urgency of Peter’s work as an activist.
Aaju Peter’s engaging personality shapes and contributes to the force of colonization twice, fueling essential conversations around history and representing Inuit culture in action. The discussion is about which position should be put first, whether one agrees with Peter’s position or the choice of language in which he chooses to communicate.