- Ararat (film)
name = Ararat
producer = Atom Egoyan
writer = Atom Egoyan
Charles Aznavour Christopher Plummer David Alpay Arsinée Khanjian Eric Bogosian Brent Carver Marie-Josée Croze
May 20, 2002(premiere at Cannes) September 20, 2002( Armenia) 15 November, 2002(USA) 18 April, 2003( UK) April 13, 2006( Turkey, TV premiere)
runtime = 115 min.
language = English
website = http://serendipitypoint.com/ararat/frameset.asp
imdb_id = 0273435
"Ararat" is a 2002 film directed, written, and co-produced by
Atom Egoyanabout the Armenian Genocide, an event that is denied by the government of Turkey. In addition to exploring the human impact of the specific historical event, the film also examines the nature of truth and its representation through art. "Ararat" stars Charles Aznavour, Christopher Plummer, and David Alpay.
Background and structure
Egoyan is Armenian-Canadian and, as one of the few well-known Armenian filmmakers, had long been encouraged to make a film about the genocide. However, Egoyan's previous films had all demonstrated an interest in the impossibility of knowing
absolute truth. Egoyan thus made "Ararat" deliberately self-referential. It depicts the efforts of an Armenian director, Edward Saroyan ( Charles Aznavour), to make a theatrical, Hollywood-style film about the genocide, from the fictionalised point of view of a genuine historical figure, Arshile Gorky.
"Ararat" thus includes graphic sequences depicting the horrors of the genocide, but they are always framed as scenes from Saroyan's film-within-the-film. Furthermore, the actors and filmmakers are shown discussing the ethical problems that arise when adaptating contentious subjects into simplistic movies; for example,
Elias Koteasplays Ali, a Turkish-Canadian actor who becomes increasingly uncomfortable with playing the role of an evil Turkish military officer in Saroyan's film. (In a further complication, Koteas himself is Greek-Canadian, not Turkish). In addition, Saroyan's glossy costume-drama is contrasted with roughly-shot camcorderfootage of lake Vanand real ruined Armenian churches in the deserted city of Ani, near Mount Ararat.
There are also a number of secondary plots. One involves the relationship between Ani (played by
Arsinee Khanjian), art historian expert on Gorky and adviser on Saroyan's fictional film, and her son Raffi ( David Alpay). Another features Raffi and a Canadian customs official, David ( Christopher Plummer), whose son is having a homosexual relationship with Ali, the actor in Saroyan's film.
David Alpayas Raffi
Charles Aznavouras Edward Saroyan
Eric Bogosianas Rouben
Christopher Plummeras David
Marie-Josée Crozeas Celia
Arsinée Khanjianas Ani
Brent Carveras Philip
Bruce Greenwoodas Martin Harcourt, actor playing Clarence Ussher
Elias Koteasas Ali, actor playing Jevdet Bey
The film was given only a
limited releasein most countries, and failed to make a significant gross at the box office. [mojo title|id=ararat|title=Ararat. Retrieved January 7, 2008.]
"Ararat" won several awards. At the 2003
Genie Awards for best Canadian film, it was named best film of the year, and picked up awards for costume design and original score; in addition, Arsinée Khanjianwon the best actress award and Elias Koteasbest supporting actor. Egoyan won a prize from the Writers Guild of Canadaawards, 2003. The film also won an award for best human rightsfilm from the Political Film Society, and won the Golden Apricot at the Yerevan International Film Festival, 2004. An edited version of "Ararat" has been shown on the Turkish television station Kanal Turk.
Critical reception was mixed. "Ararat" received a 58 percent ("rotten") rating at
Rotten Tomatoes[rotten-tomatoes|id=ararat|title=Ararat. Retrieved January 7, 2008.] and a metascore of 62 ("Generally favorable reviews") at Metacritic. [metacritic film|id=ararat|title=Ararat. Retrieved June 28, 2008.]
* [http://www.filmreferencelibrary.ca/index.asp?layid=44&csid1=414&navid=87&fid3=555&offset=10 Canadian Film Encyclopedia]
* [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901030428-444961,00.html Moving the Mountain - Time Magazine]
* [http://www.miramax.com/ararat/ Official site]
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