Winter 2003 Edge series
Sunday, March 9, 2003 at 7:00pm
Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS
Rated 14A ·
A presentation of the 2002 Cannes film festival and the Toronto International Film Festival, where it served as the prestigious opening night gala, Ararat is acclaimed Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s (The Sweet Hereafter, Felicia’s Journey) most personal cinematic statement, an alternately intimate and epic film that takes a multi-generational look at the little-known Armenian genocide of 1915. Seeking to enlighten audiences who have little knowledge of the Siege of Van (in which 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered by Turkish forces), while also exploring the tragedy’s impact on modern-day Armenians, Ararat is an intricately scripted, beautifully photographed meditation on redemption and reconciliation. Set essentially in the present, the various stories revolve around a film within the film, an historical epic based on the Armenian genocide being filmed by respected director Edward Saroyan (the thoroughly engaging Charles Aznavour, The Truth About Charlie). Saroyan has enlisted the help of Ani (Arsinee Khanjian, The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica), an Armenian historian with detailed knowledge of the atrocities. Ani’s son, Raffi (intelligently played by newcomer David Alpay), who has never felt compelled to research his background until now, is returning from a trip to Turkey with film for his mother’s research. However, at the Canadian border he has a run in with a customs officer named David (Christopher Plummer, A Beautiful Mind, The Insider), who has his own mysterious reasons for detaining Raffi and making his entry with the footage as difficult as possible. Employing his trademark multi-character narrative and shifting, non-linear plot structure to new and dazzling effect, Egoyan masterfully interweaves many of the lofty themes that inhabit all his films. Egoyan’s enormous talent, Mychael Danna’s intense score and stellar work from a truly exceptional cast make Ararat one of the year’s must-see films.
“Intricately scripted, beautifully photographed.” – Hollywood Reporter
“Egoyan’s enormous talent and Mychael Danna’s intense score keep Ararat interesting and emotional.” – Mark Keizer, Box Office Magazine
“Hands down the year’s most thought-provoking film.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times