Armenian Genocide Centenary Commemoration at Stanford
A film screening of "Ararat" directed by Atom Egoyan.
Ararat offers a compelling, multi-layered investigation of the 1915 genocide of his people, the Armenians, by the Turks. Appreciative of the fact that the majority of his audience will not be familiar with this terrible episode, Egoyan interrogates history from the perspective and needs of the present, threading a number of stories together to shed different lights on the burden of memory, ideas of guilt and the possibilities of representation.
So, a film director (Aznavour) attempts to make a period drama from the material, inspired partly by a biography of Armenian painter Arshile Gorky, whose writer (Khanjian) is forced to deal with traumatic family secrets and legacies. Her teenage film-maker son, meanwhile, is caught in philosophical conflict with an airport customs guard (Plummer) on his last night in the job.
Moving fluidly and associatively back and forth in time, and between film set, reconstruction and contemporary Canada, the film also engages with Egoyan's ongoing concerns: gender and generational relations, the limits of technology and the ability of the image to convey authentic, lived experience. Working with many of his regular collaborators, he has crafted a resonant and ambitious document of genuine importance and telling emotional integrity. Gareth Evans