Posted by Lilly from ? (188.8.131.52) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 2:37PM :
In Reply to: "A Conveniently Forgotten Holocaust" posted by Lilly from ? (184.108.40.206) on Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 2:12PM :
A bit about Egoyan's latest film on this week's Weekend Edition Sunday (9/1/02) from NPR follows this article. To hear it, click on the link at the bottom of the page, & scroll down on the NPR page until you see the sound file link for 'Ararat.' I believe it's the 10th sound file link on the NPR web page.
Egoyan explores how we see past: probes memories of Armenian tragedy
Ottawa Citizen -
May 21, 2002 Tuesday Final Edition
CANNES, France -- Canadian director Atom Egoyan's new movie is getting lots of attention because of the sensitive subject it tackles, but Egoyan doesn't want Ararat to be remembered simply as an account of Turkey's persecution of Armenians in 1915.
The film does explore what happened in Armenia during the First World War, but it is also made up of a tapestry of stories designed to leave film-goers asking questions about denial, memory and perception.
For Egoyan, the film tackles events that, as a Canadian of Armenian descent, he has been dealing with since he was a teen: "From the beginning, my goal was to make a film that would tell a part of who I was at 18, and I needed to find a way of expressing things I had to deal with at that point of my life," he told reporters yesterday after the film's premiere at the 55th annual Cannes Festival. The film has stirred controversy because Turkey disputes the central premise of Ararat, specifically that it was responsible for the genocide of more than one million Armenians almost 90 years ago.
While the Turkish government acknowledges that many Armenians died as the First World War began, they claim the number killed by what was then its crumbling Ottoman government was not as high as the Armenians say and that many died from disease.
The Turkish government has threatened legal action over the film. There have also been threats of boycotts and demonstrations when the film is released to theatres later this year by Alliance Atlantis in Canada and Miramax in the U.S.
Egoyan, who also wrote the film, is unmoved by the Turkish government's protests: "The events the film depicts have been completely substantiated," he said.
The main thread of the film is about the making of a movie on the slaughter in Armenia. The film drifts between the scenes and characters on the set -- which uses Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey as a backdrop -- and the lives of people in modern Toronto who either act in or have some connection to the fictional movie.
One of the themes revolves around storytelling and how history is remembered. "We are dependent as a society on collective memory," Egoyan said. "The story telling that we encounter, from parents to children, from those children to their children, is essential to who we become."
In that and other ways, Egoyan said he has tried to make a film that will touch everyone, not just Armenians. "I focused on one history because that's the history I was familiar with, but I wanted to make this film as universal as possible so that anyone can watch it," he said. "These are traumas we all feel."
When asked by a journalist who identified himself as a Turk about the issues the film will raise in Turkey, Egoyan replied: "This is not a film that is trying to demonize present-day Turks. In fact, it is the opposite -- I am trying ask the viewer to consider what it means to pass judgment on somebody who is alive today for things that were done, for good or for evil, by people who are no longer around."
A new Atom Egoyan movie premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 5, where it is the opening presentation. The film deals with the Turkish genocide of the Armenians from 1915-1917. The Turks have tried to have the film changed. David D'Arcy reports. (9:15)
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