Monday, 6 April 2020

Ararat (2002)

Given the films that I have previously reviewed on this site, this review may seem it comes out of leftfield, especially as of this review, this film came out 18 years before, but hey, as I am stuck home, I'm seeing all types of films these days.

Ararat is a part historical drama, part family drama with quite the ensemble with several interesting storylines. A history professor who is accused by her stepdaughter of killing her second husband after her first husband was a terrorist. Her son having a sexual relationship with his stepsister struggling to accept his identity. An up and coming actor coming to terms with his understanding of history. How does it all come together? Through a film production of the Armenian genocide.

The story is told through an interrogation by a customs officer, with the young man remembering how his life was changed during the making of the film. The film plays with time, to varying effect, jumping between the past and the present, the affect the history has on their characters today, and we see recreations of the genocide through the footage of the fictional film being made and the effect it has.

Atom Egoyan has made his career making experimental character studies to gage an emotion from the audience. Given his identity and where he is from, you can tell this story is personal. However, it comes off as preachy at times. The amount of historical exposition in this film, it should have been longer. As someone who doesn't have much knowledge of the event, several details were lost.

The family drama with the stepdaughter had no bearing in this film. Egoyan is known for presenting incest in his films for reasons I can not understand. The storyline isn't even properly resolved by the end. This film presents you with more questions than answers, and I feel that is the opposite effect Egoyan was going for.

Solid performances and set pieces aside, Ararat is an unnecessarily difficult film.


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