Ararat (2002)

ATOM EGOYAN

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Canada/France, 2002, Serendipity Point Films, , , , , , .  Screenplay by Atom Egoyan.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Atom Egoyan, .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Toronto International Film Festival 2002.

A standout accomplishment by Atom Egoyan, here looking to his Armenian roots for a powerful story about history, healing and hope. A book about a survivor of the Armenian genocide of 1915 has caught the eye of a filmmaker () and screenwriter () working on a film about the controversial tragedy. They hire the book’s writer (, who is marvelous) to act as consultant on the film and contribute to the realism of their project. Khanjian’s son, , is dealing with his personal family’s involvement with the political aftermath between Turkey and its denial of the Armenian holocaust, unfolding his personal story to a customs officer (Christopher Plummer) while waiting to be admitted back into Canada. The multiple subplots that magically connect, a staple of Egoyan’s films, are sometimes too extraneous to the plot, but the whole thing plays so smoothly and with such beautiful rhythm and palpable emotion that there’s no need for serious criticism of its excesses. Egoyan’s choice to make a film with various forms of art instead of just a straightforward historical epic pays off with information and dramatic layers.

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