Two isolated families meet for a summertime celebration. Food is abundant and the future seems bright, but Ningiuq, a wise old woman, sees her world as fragile and moves through it with a pervasive sense of dread. Ningiuq and her grandson Maniq are dropped off on a remote island, where, every year, the family dries the catch and stores it for winter. The task is soon finished. As summer turns to fall, they wait in vain for the others to pick them up.
Canadian history comes to poetic life on the big screen as directors Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu team to adapt Danish author J?rn Riel's novel about a mid-19th century Inuit family whose lives are forever changed with the arrival of Europeans on their native soil. It's summertime, a time when Inuit communities come together to share food and tell stories, and for the young to get married. Ningiuq (Ivalu) and her best friend, Kuutuguk (Mary Qulitalik), are elders in one such community, and when Ningiuq gets word that the Europeans are advancing she fears for the future of her people. But Ningiuq has a more immediate problem to worry about as well; Kuutuguk has fallen gravely ill, and it looks as if she won't live to see another winter. After returning from a fishing excursion with a rather bountiful catch, Ningiuq, her grandson Maniq (Paul-Dylan Ivalu), and Kuutuguk prepare to dry the fish. Alone on a remote and uninhabited island, the trio waits for someone from their tribe to arrive and guide them back home. When no one appears to do so, Ningiuq and Maniq decide to set off for home while Kuutuguk waits behind. Unfortunately Ningiuq has a foreboding feeling about the journey, and she's about to discover just how accurate her instincts truly are.