Author Topic: Atom Egoyan  (Read 13299 times)

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godardian

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« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2003, 04:31:12 PM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
Y'know how people accuse Woody Allen of being a self-hating Jew? Well, I'm a self-hating Canadian.


Ha! And I've been accused of being a self-hating fag.

It's sort of a compliment, 'cos it generally means you don't toe the line and swallow the conventional wisdom. "Self-hating" very often just means "independent thinking."
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"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

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Mesh

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« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2003, 04:33:02 PM »
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Quote from: SoNowThen
Y'know how people accuse Woody Allen of being a self-hating Jew? Well, I'm a self-hating Canadian.


Quit being irrational, I mean:


SoNowThen

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« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2003, 04:37:30 PM »
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Yeah, yeah, I forgot, MJF... love him. But he's practically American, too. However, I believe he was born in Edmonton (like me), then went to school in Burnaby, BC (where I lived during film school). No I like him a lot. Put him on my list with Joni and Neil.
Those who say that the totalitarian state of the Soviet Union was not "real" Marxism also cannot admit that one simple feature of Marxism makes totalitarianism necessary:  the rejection of civil society. Since civil society is the sphere of private activity, its abolition and replacement by political society means that nothing private remains. That is already the essence of totalitarianism; and the moralistic practice of the trendy Left, which regards everything as political and sometimes reveals its hostility to free speech, does nothing to contradict this implication.

When those who hated capital and consumption (and Jews) in the 20th century murdered some hundred million people, and the poster children for the struggle against international capitalism and America are now fanatical Islamic terrorists, this puts recent enthusiasts in an awkward position. Most of them are too dense and shameless to appreciate it, and far too many are taken in by the moralistic and paternalistic rhetoric of the Left.

guy

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« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2003, 10:41:11 PM »
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SoNowThen, i totally agree with you on your Canadian film remarks...I too am Canadian and pretty much hate the movies that arise from this country...I mean there's been some great comedians that've came from here, but as far as films, it's dissapointing... Hopefully things will change one day....

'Last Night' was an okay flick...

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Atom Egoyan
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2003, 12:56:21 AM »
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i also agree about the state of canadien films. i find them mostly to be trying to be smart and dramatic but end up just being boring. (treed murray was pretty good though). but recently the films from quebec have been very good.

guy

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« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2003, 06:11:13 PM »
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'Treed Murray' was pretty unrealistic, i found. That guy would have been dead in the first 10 minutes in real life (maybe). David Cronenberg and Norman Jewison and two solid Canadian filmmakers that have made mainstream films....but who else is there? Who are good?? It's just good to see directors from Canada that choose to make films that aren't so pretintous and not just targeted for the dying breed of culture freaks. I could go on and on about it, but i'll spare you guys...

children with angels

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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2003, 08:59:43 PM »
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Just want to step in pointlessly here, as the originator of this thread and go "Hey! I like Atom Egoyan!"

I guess I might feel differently if I was from Canada though. Same way as I have a thing against a lot of British movies.

Seems to be a lot of people's minds are made up against this guy. I don't know: I just dig him. I find his films beautiful, and pretty unique in tone. Actually I'm pretty much just talking about Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter here. His others I find interesting, but don't affect me emotionally. Those two really ruin me - I think they reach a depth of feeling (often through their detatchment) that I don't get  from a lot of other filmamakers. A kind of homelessness. A feeling that everything is just somehow slightly wrong - kind of like a David Lynch vibe without Lynch's open surrealism. He's talked about how he always wants to push the audience away, remind them they're watching images - but he manages to lure me in too. I like to think of him in relation to Hitchcock - I'm not comparing the two on merits or faults, just themes. Voyeurism, detatchment, sexual perversion... All that good stuff.

Anyway: yeah - I like him. I can totally see how I would criticise him if I didn't though...
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godardian

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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2003, 12:55:09 PM »
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Quote from: Ghostboy
More of the same, this time from Ebert....

CANNES, France--Coming up for air like an exhausted swimmer, the Cannes Film Festival produced two splendid films on Wednesday morning, after a week of the most dismal entries in memory. Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasion," from Quebec,


This is from another thread, but I feel another mention of Arcand is due here. I didn't care for one of his films I've seen, but I really did like the other. I've only seen two. He's Canadian.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

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children with angels

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« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2003, 04:23:07 AM »
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I just saw Ararat. I found it pretty moving, but mainly because of the subject matter. Jesus Christ: over a million people are systematically slaughtered and the Turkish government still denies it happened...?

Leaving that unavoidably affecting subject aside for a moment though, I didn't like the contrived way Egoyan chose to tell the backstory through the young guy talking to the baggage inspector: it was just such an obvious, theatrical way to get exposition done - really stood out like a sore thumb from the rest of the movie.

The mood was sterotypically muted and detatched, but interspersed with moments of frenzy with its depiction of the massacre of the Armenians. This is something he's started doing in his movies: slow, sombre then something hysterical - I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think I prefer his slow-burn, always under the surface, technique that gets used in Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter. But then I guess you need a little hysterical horror, considering...

Overall though the movie had a sense of being slightly over-analysed. He's been wanting to make this film his whole life, so he's going to want to make everything exactly as he wants it: and it shows... I can see that thematically it probably includes and satisfies everything he wants to say, but for this reason it felt kind of overworked. Made me think a little of Gangs of New York in terms of a very long term plan that - in my opinion - suffered under the weight of love from its creator.

It had some wonderful scenes in it though. The confrontation between Elias Koteas, the half-Turk, and the young half-Armenian guy in the hallway is going to stay with me for a while: "Do you know what Hitler said to convince his generals the holocaust would be a success:... 'Who remembers the Armenian genocide.'"
"Yeah: and nobody did. Nobody does."
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pookiethecat

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« Reply #39 on: June 09, 2003, 01:54:14 PM »
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The Armenian genocide is still a sore spot among Turkish and Armenian people.  I got into a relationship-ish with an Armenian girl and she would constantly talk about her dislike for the Turks.  Similarly, I knew Turkish people who strongly disliked Armenians, as people with a history that contradict's their perception of it.  They honestly do not believe it happened, and find it insulting and embarrassing that the Armenians call it a genocide.  To them, it was simply a necessary massacre, not a full-blown systematic murdering.  Due to our diplomatic ties to Turkey, the US won't admit it either...it's amazing that we call Saddam Hussein a genocidal maniac and here Turkey is, a country that systematically killed millions of people, and we can't even awknowledge it!! It is definitely a sore spot with me personally because both the Turks and the Armenian girl were close to me...their anguish over the genocide became my anguish, in a way.  I'm grateful for Egoyan making the film, even if it wasn't exactly a crowning artistic achievement.
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godardian

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« Reply #40 on: June 09, 2003, 02:05:30 PM »
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Quote from: children with angels
I didn't like the contrived way Egoyan chose to tell the backstory through the young guy talking to the baggage inspector: it was just such an obvious, theatrical way to get exposition done - really stood out like a sore thumb from the rest of the movie.

The mood was sterotypically muted and detatched, but interspersed with moments of frenzy with its depiction of the massacre of the Armenians. This is something he's started doing in his movies: slow, sombre then something hysterical - I'm not sure how I feel about it. I think I prefer his slow-burn, always under the surface, technique that gets used in Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter. But then I guess you need a little hysterical horror, considering...

Overall though the movie had a sense of being slightly over-analysed. He's been wanting to make this film his whole life, so he's going to want to make everything exactly as he wants it: and it shows... I can see that thematically it probably includes and satisfies everything he wants to say, but for this reason it felt kind of overworked. Made me think a little of Gangs of New York in terms of a very long term plan that - in my opinion - suffered under the weight of love from its creator.


I agree with everything here, and I would add: In all his other films, it seems that he is very suspicious of electronic means of recording histories, either personal or public. It's sort of a recurring theme, and I think he's always seen it as distancing, detaching, not entirely to be trusted, and sometimes dangerous. In Ararat, though, he seemed to avoid any real skepticism of it, when the situation really begged for it (especially in the remaking of history as a commercial feature film).

I need to see it again and intend to rent it upon its release to DVD. Maybe I was just in the wrong frame of mind when I saw it. But I really, really wanted to like it, so I think my overall disappointed opinion will probably stand.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

children with angels

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« Reply #41 on: June 09, 2003, 02:51:27 PM »
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I don't know - I think there was a real skepticism of the recreation of events in the movie: the film-within-a-film seemed to me almost like a mocking of his ability to ever truthfully recreate such a painful event. In his movies though, you're right: there is an untrusting element to the technology, but that's always weighed against our intense need for it: the church footage in Calendar, the home movie in Exotica, the filming of the girls in Felicia's Journey, the sex footage in Speaking Parts. It's this simultaneous distain for and obsession with the distancing of images from real life.

The whole of Ararat felt to me a little like a massive, emotional version of Calendar (he even recreated one shot from that movie: the herds of sheep). Very smilar themes about the past controlling the present, feeling a connection to it or being cold to it, controlled both. I just think the scale was a little too massive in Ararat and somewhat overwhelmed it. Made it 'interesting' rather than 'stunning'.
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MacGuffin

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« Reply #42 on: July 08, 2003, 03:09:33 AM »
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Where the Truth Lies: Atom Egoyan has optioned the debut novel by Rupert Holmes.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2003, 10:48:54 AM »
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Canadian director Atom Egoyan makes small films, intimate in scope, in which personal emotional crises take on an almost universal significance. In movies like The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica, Egoyan renders tragedy through the prism of different points of view, folding his characters' conflicting reactions back on themselves until we finally see the big picture.

Egoyan's new film, Ararat, may be his most ambitious project yet, in which he accepts the challenge of trying to capture the atrocities of the Armenian genocide on film. But the Cairo-born director is himself of Armenian descent and questions his own authority. Rather than making a historical epic, Egoyan chose to make a movie about another Armenian filmmaker confronting his issues with accurately telling that story. "Right now, because I've made a movie that's about filmmaking, that has a film-within-a-film, I've been thinking about movies that are about filmmaking," Egoyan says, "and there are some really amazing examples that are among my favorite films." Here, the director names five films that shaped the way he chose to tell the story of Ararat.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8 1/2
(1963, dir: Federico Fellini, starring: Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale)
8 1/2 is a very exciting film dealing with the myth that a director is able, by controlling and making people do things on a set, to come to terms with huge issues in his personal life. It's about a film director trying to literally tame his obsessions. He's making a film, and he suddenly comes to a block. He's facing incredible pressures from his producers and critics and various people expecting that anything he does is brilliant, but he himself feels completely shallow and hollow about any gesture he makes. He begins to split between the practice of filmmaking as a fantasy and the actual logistics of production, and that tension is something I found really entertaining and really inspiring. The enduring image there is of the director surrounded by all the various women he's had contact in his life. In this sort of ridiculous fantasy, he feels he can kind of orchestrate them all to move and act exactly as he wants. Of course, that's the fantasy of film direction, that you get to be this kind of emotional tyrant, so it was this really great exposé and exploration of that myth.  

The Conversation
(1974, dir: Francis Ford Coppola, starring: Gene Hackman, John Cazale)
First of all, it's an amazing performance by Gene Hackman, an incredibly touching and vulnerable performance. Of all those '70s paranoia/conspiracy-types of movies, that one seems really haunting because it's dealing with a very personal moment for this individual which is completely plausible, and I find it as vivid now as it must have been at that time. It's about someone who is hired to record secret conversations, and he realizes as he is recording this one conversation that it's about something much darker than he could have imagined, something which implicates him morally as a witness. There's one part of the tape that is completely indecipherable, and he spends most of the film trying to filter through until he finds that hidden piece of text which will prove to him that his worst nightmare is true, that he has been the sole witness to someone else's murder. The descent that the character has into this obsession is really well calibrated. It's a really clear dramatic arc, and it's beautifully expressed. Those end scenes, where he's tearing up his apartment, are unforgettable, and his jazz playing, that final image of him in this completely devastated apartment playing his instrument, is just indelible.  

Blowup
(1966, dir: Michelangelo Antonioni, David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave)
What got me really excited about that movie was it somehow really gets to the glamour of image-making. That image of David Hemmings as this kind of fashion photographer with these two young London chicks at the time. The scene of him photographing them and that kind of dissolving into this orgy of image-making, both figuratively and literally was one of the more enduring images of my adolescent film-watching experience. Cinematically, I just think Antonioni is a hugely important figure. It's not his best film by any means, but it had a huge social impact. Again, it was a very clear metaphor for a certain state of consciousness where someone who seems to be operating without a moral compass is suddenly in a situation where they have to confront their ethics and their responsibility as a human being. Here, he makes a photograph in a park, and as he's developing it, he notices a figure lurking in the bushes. He realizes that he might have been the sole witness in a murder and documented it as proof, but in order to make that document clear, he has to magnify it and get closer and closer. Unlike the Gene Hackman character, where the process of filtration and excavation produces clarity, the David Hemmings character finds the more something is blown up, the grainier it becomes, and the more indecipherable it becomes.

Two Weeks in Another Town
(1962, dir: Vincente Minnelli, starring: Kirk Douglas, Edward G. Robinson)
This is not one of my favorite films, but it's a greatly overlooked movie. I don't even know if it's released on video. You probably know The Bad and the Beautiful, which is Minnelli's Academy Award-winning film about Hollywood at the time. Two Weeks in Another Town was made with Kirk Douglas 10 years later. It's sort of like the follow-up. Kirk Douglas plays this totally faded star who goes to make this marginal spaghetti western in Rome, and while there, he rejuvenates his life by taking over the direction of a movie. I think there's something really touching about that film and what it says about the Hollywood fantasy, even as it exists in this remote outpost of film production. It also talks about the process of aging in Hollywood. It's interesting to me that you don't have this [officially recognized] genre of the movie-within-the-movie, because it's something that almost every filmmaker that I know of has tackled at one point. It's a very profound theme, this process by which people try to record or create an environment or community of people engaged in the process of making other people do things that they wouldn't be doing otherwise, dramatizing or constructing scenes, and the way that impacts our own ability to communicate and create relationships.

The Pawnbroker
(1964, dir: Sidney Lumet, starring: Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald)
One of the most effective films I've seen about the Holocaust would be The Pawnbroker. It doesn't really show us what happened. Instead, we see the consequences on this really traumatized individual after the fact. Rod Sterling plays a pawnbroker in the Bronx in the '50s. He's a Holocaust survivor who lost his entire family, and we see how that person has become hardened to life. He could live this suburban fantasy around him but chooses to punish himself by working in this pawnbroking business where he deals with the dregs of humanity. We see how that person lives with that history, and the historical images are almost subliminal. It was interesting going back to some of these [historical] epics, even things that you consider to be classics like Lawrence of Arabia. Sorry, but that film seems really forced. You've very aware of the pageantry and the construction. You're aware that you're supposed to absorb it in a certain way. There's something almost preordained, a dutiful acceptance of the image as a fact. People who know my work understand that I'm incredibly sensitive to notions of image production, that there's something both seductive and horrifying about it at the same time. I think [Ararat] is a film that deals with people making objects of trauma. On the one hand, the images of the film-within-the-film had to serve a purpose to educate people about what happened and how horrifying the atrocity was, but I also wanted to feel challenged by the way it was shown and to understand that there was something didactic about the manner of presenting it. The viewer can respond to those images on an entirely emotional level or be suspicious of them, and the film would work either way.
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godardian

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« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2003, 11:09:41 AM »
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I'll have to check into that Rupert Holmes thing. I'm still severely disappointed that his planned film of Margaret Atwood's excellent The Blind Assassin disappeared.

The Conversation and Blow-Up are certainly no surprise... the simultaneous faultiness and importance of memory and the fact that the technology we humans invent isn't nearly up to replacing it are pervasive themes in Egoyan.
""Money doesn't come into it. It never has. I do what I do because it's all that I am." - Morrissey

"Lacan stressed more and more in his work the power and organizing principle of the symbolic, understood as the networks, social, cultural, and linguistic, into which a child is born. These precede the birth of a child, which is why Lacan can say that language is there from before the actual moment of birth. It is there in the social structures which are at play in the family and, of course, in the ideals, goals, and histories of the parents. This world of language can hardly be grasped by the newborn and yet it will act on the whole of the child's existence."

Stay informed on protecting your freedom of speech and civil rights.

 

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