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The Essential Egoyan [4 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

Peep Show
Next of Kin
Atom Egoyan's first feature finds him using the formal and thematic elements he has combined throughout his career: allegory, family bonds, the corruption of desire, and a perverse view of technology. In the midst of a familial trauma, a young man discovers a videotape of a family who gave up a child for adoption. Fleeing his past, he attempts to become that lost son. Next of Kin is a hint of disturbing films to come. ~ Brian Whitener, Rovi

Speaking Parts
"In my films, you're always encouraged to remember that you're watching a collection of designed images." Thus spake Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan in describing his calculatedly non-realistic style. In keeping with his earlier works, Egoyan's Speaking Parts, though grounded in reality, could never be confused with the facts of life. Arsinee Khanjian plays a near-somnambulistic maid who carries a torch for aspiring actor Michael McManus. She obsesses on McManus by renting tapes of the films in which he's appeared as a non-speaking extra. As McManus ignores Khanjian while wooing would-be filmmaker Gabrielle Rose (he wants to star in a film based on Rose's life-saving organ donation), Khanjian develops a sort of rapport with video store manager Tony Nardi, who also harbors dreams of becoming a filmmaker. The most curious (and, to some, maddening) aspect of Speaking Parts is that all the characters physically resemble one another. What this has to do with Egoyan's "message"--if any--is unclear, but it sure works towards the director's goal of assuring that the viewers are constantly aware that they're watching a movie and not Real Life. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Calendar
Atom Egoyan casts himself as the lead character in Calendar. He portrays a shutterbug who brings an array of different women to his apartment. Every time one of the women makes a phone call, the character notices a calendar consisting of photographs he took while in Armenia. The film flashes back to the time he took each of the photos. Traveling through Armenia with his wife, he does not share his wife's interest in the history behind the locations he is photographing. The wife eventually leaves him, and the film ends with him attempting to end their estrangement. This project began after Egoyan, whose ancestors were Armenian, was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Moscow Film Festival for his 1991 film The Adjuster. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Family Viewing
Ignore the title: Family Viewing makes for fascinating viewing, though it is not designed as entertainment for the whole family. This Canadian film stars David Hemblen as Stan, a profoundly disturbed young man. Upon the disappearance of his mother, Stan feverishly tries to piece together existing clues. He's not sure he likes the outcome, but given the extent to which his family has disintegrated, he's not surprised, either. Family Viewing was expertly filmed on a wafer-thin budget by independent Canadian director Atom Egoyan. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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