HIC is a not-for-profit community film club organised and run by Haringey residents. It’s usually held on the last Thursday of the month at West Green Learning Centre on West Green Road. Doors open at 7pm. Everyone welcome!
Thursday 22 October 2015
Atom Egoyan | France/Canada, 2002 | 115 mins | Rated 15
This year, 2015, marks the centenary of the Armenian Genocide – the systematic extermination by the Ottoman government of its minority Armenian subjects. It is estimated that between 800,000 and 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children were murdered by the state over a few months in 1915. To this day, however, the Turkish government refuses to acknowledge as genocide these acts of mass, organised deportation and racialized butchery by its 20th-century Ottoman precursors.
Atom Egoyan’s brilliant film opts not to enter into a debate over semantics, nor to attempt a ‘realistic’ reconstruction of those terrible events. Instead, what the Armenian-Canadian director offers us is another of his intriguing films-within-a-film, a Russian doll sort of a cinematic spectacle, in which we watch a handful of eccentric and vaguely linked characters in contemporary Canada – an academic, her son, a filmmaker, an actor, a customs official – wrestle emotionally, aesthetically and politically over what might constitute an ethically acceptable way to make a mass-marketed movie about the Armenian genocide. Should such a film entertain? Educate? Reform? And who gets to dictate an agenda on memory, commemoration and representation? These are the questions our characters struggle with, whilst at the same time struggling with their own lives, relationships, and the shadow of trauma that falls over them all from 1915.
For anyone who had been bewitched by Egoyan’s earlier films such as The Adjuster, Exotica or The Sweet Hereafter, here was the proof, if any were needed, that this was one director quite equal to the task of politicizing his own erotic, psychological and familial obsessions.