Due to the community shutdowns that follow in the wake of Covid-19, the Canadian Arctic is isolated from the rest of the world. Uyarak is thus separated physically from his closest friend, sister Saqpinak. Uyarak is in Montréal and sister Saqpinak remains in Igloolik, a community in the Foxe Basin, Qikiqtaaluk region of Nunavut. It is now that Uyarak begins to remember a traumatic event from their upbringing, an event that she herself cannot put into words but that her older sister has strong memories of. Via video link, the sisters meet for recurring conversations about what once happened in their home village. The conversations are both healing and formative. For themselves and for us who get to take part in the conversations. When the restrictions are eased, the sisters can be reunited in the arctic society that Uyarak once left, they can, together with the local elders, land in the pain of the past.
As you watch the film What We See, you wonder whether a conversation through a video link can open up more difficult-to-reach feelings than a physical meeting could? The form of the film is experimental and the form and its content have arisen from the extreme life situation that the pandemic created for us. It questions and plays with the documentary genre. The directors who portray the two sisters tell about real events, but they stage everything in a new way, which allows them to raise the problem to a new level. The film ends up being an emotional steamroller, the most beautiful of all being the scene where Uyarak gets traditional tattoos on his hands by a young woman in Montréal. She reclaims her cultural origins while unraveling knots of oppression that have plagued her family for generations.
– Mia Rogersdotter Gran