Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

We must begin by thanking Atom Egoyan and Marcy Gerstein at Ego Film Arts for their thoughtful engagement with and gracious support of this project. They have been consistently generous with their time and resources at every stage in the writing of this book, allowing the editors and writers access to their film archive and library, granting permission for the ...

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Introduction: In Media Res: Atom Egoyan's Utopian Praxis

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pp. 1-18

Atom Egoyan has written, directed, produced, and exhibited one of the most intriguing bodies of work. In dense, multi-layered projects in a remarkably wide range of media, he has focused on everything, as he says, from "the stories of survivors passed on to children and grandchildren, to the industrial needs of commercial entertainment, to the private and sacred mythologies ...

Section 1 Media Technologies, Aura, and Redemption

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1 Artifice and Artifact: Technology and the Performance of Identity

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pp. 21-27

Atom Egoyan has said that the "containers we use to store experience" express as much meaning as the experiences themselves (Egoyan 2002). Indeed, in his highly self-reflexive work, audio and visual media technologies--tape recorders and complex musical structures, along with screens, cameras, mirrors, and other devices--drive both the plot and the characters within it, serving as arenas through which the characters can perform and act out their ...

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2 Fetish and Aura: Modes of Technological Engagement in Family Viewing

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pp. 29-52

In three of his films, Atom Egoyan deals explicitly and extensively with the impact of audiovisual technologies on daily living. Next of Kin (1984), Family Viewing (1987), and Speaking Parts (1989) all thematize the complex interaction between human desire and the production and circulation of electronic images. Much to his credit, Egoyan manages to avoid technomaniac and ...

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3 The Adjuster: Playing House

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pp. 53-77

The Adjuster (1992) takes a solid and important place in the succession of Atom Egoyan's films between Next of Kin (1984) and Exotica (1994)--a series in which all the members have a strong family resemblance, in which the themes, character types, narrative construction, and filmic style are intensely similar and interrelated throughout and the resulting amalgam is as consistently ...

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4 The Thirteenth Church: Musical Structures in Atom Egoyan's Calendar

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pp. 79-100

Calendar (1993), Atom Egoyan's fifth feature, is a small film. Originally produced for TV, it was shot without Egoyan's usually scrupulous preparations, partially without a script, and it has a running time of only seventy-two minutes. Yet this improvisory but highly structured work, which achieves its kaleidoscopic complexity through elaborate editing, seems to have transformed, even ...

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5 The Passing of Celluloid, the Endurance of the Image: Egoyan, Steenbeckett, and Krapp's Last Tape

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pp. 101-122

Introducing a post-screening discussion of his new adaptation of Samuel Beckett's dramatic monologue Krapp's Last Tape (1958), at the 2001 New York Film Festival, Atom Egoyan told the audience that he had first read the play as a teenager, and that it had changed his life, inspiring the node of ideas that had generated his first six feature films.1 It was, of course, a quintessentially Egoyan ...

Section 2 Diasporic Histories and the Exile of Meaning

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6 Mobile Subjectivity and Micro-territories: Placing the Diaspora

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pp. 125-131

The authors in the previous section examined some of the ways in which Egoyan has made representational technologies the central focus of much of his work, analyzing how his characters actively use, adapt, or transform media technology to manage their needs and desires, and considered some of the auratic and redemptive possibilities embedded in these mediations. ...

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7 Telling a Horror Story, Conscientiously: Representing the Armenian Genocide from Open House to Ararat

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pp. 133-156

Between 1915 and 1922, the Ottoman Turkish state committed the first modern genocide of the twentieth century, against the Armenian population in eastern Anatolia (now Turkey). It was an event Adolf Hitler cited, on August 22, 1939, to justify his strategies for the ethnic cleansing of Poland: "Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?"1 Atom ...

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8 History and Memory, Repetition and Epistolarity

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pp. 157-176

Atom Egoyan's intensely rich, broad, and coherent oeuvre discloses the filmmaker's ongoing fascination with the simultaneously possible and impossible filmic representation of collective history and memory. Egoyan, an assimilated Canadian from the western Armenian diaspora, believes that shared memories and history are what hold a community together, and yet he ...

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9 The Double's Choice: The Immigrant Experience in Atom Egoyan's Next of Kin

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pp. 177-192

Immigrant experiences are most often characterized by the negotiation between two cultures: the one the emigrant leaves behind but still holds on to, and the one into which the immigrant enters. This new culture is oppressive or alluring, but in either case, it is always a threat to the autonomy of the old culture. Telling the story of Peter Foster (Patrick Tierney), a WASP ...

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10 Atom Egoyan's Post-exilic Imaginary: Representing Homeland, Imagining Family

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pp. 193-217

In the age of globalization and displacement, the imbrication of nations and ethnicities as well as the fluidity of transnational communications render the theorization of exile and diaspora more and more complex. Diasporas comprise multiple layers and waves of migrants, and the cultural production of diasporic artists is characterized above all by plurality, heterogeneity, and ...

Section 3 Pathologies/Ontologies of the Visual

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11 Modes of Perception: Visuality, Culpability, and Innocence

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pp. 221-227

The essays in the previous section address the ways Egoyan's work has spoken to his own cultural heritage and in particular to the enduring legacies of the Armenian genocide on later generations spread throughout the diaspora. Through this lens, the authors uncover the political and historical dynamics informing Egoyan's recurring negotiations of identity, his explorations of experiences of dislocation and alienation, and his representations ...

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12 Speaking Parts: The Geometry of Desire

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pp. 229-257

Speaking Parts is typical of Atom Egoyan's extended first phase of feature filmmaking-- a model example, in fact. It is impossible to find a work that more fully embodies the characteristics of his cinema during the decade between Next of Kin (1984) and Exotica (1994). Indeed, the films of this period are almost parodic in the way they repeat motifs and strategies of storytelling ...

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13 Look but Don't Touch: Visual and Tactile Desire in Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter, and Felicia's Journey

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pp. 249-273

A hallmark of Atom Egoyan's work is the mediation of desire through technologies of representation. The longing of a young man to remember his childhood by replaying home movies, the obsession of a hotel chambermaid with a co-worker's film roles, the framing of a photographer's viewfinder to reveal the growing intimacy between his wife and their guide--all exemplify ...

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14 To Blame Her Sadness: Representing Incest in Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter

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pp. 275-293

The feminist analysis of sexualized violence extends outward from the recognition that violence is, to paraphrase the second-wave feminist insight, as political as it is personal; seen from this angle, seemingly discrete acts of abuse cohere into a fundamental institution of sexism. As feminist researchers of the 1980s established the astonishing frequency of such violence against ...

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15 Close: Voyeurism and the Idea of the Baroque

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pp. 295-305

Deceptively simple in its execution, Atom Egoyan's installation with Julião Sarmento at the 2001 Biennale in Venice, Close is decidedly complex in its mechanisms and theoretical apparatus.1 Two boards or screens (the size and shape of wide-screen cinema), arranged in sandwich fashion, form the simple body or "cineplex" of the installation. A walk-through aisle or ...

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16 Seeing and Hearing Atom Egoyan's Salome

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pp. 307-328

The story of Salome is legendary. The brief biblical reference in the gospel of St. Matthew (chapter 14, verses 3-12) to a young Jewish princess and her bizarre request for the head of John the Baptist in payment for dancing for her stepfather, King Herod, became an obsession for late-nineteenth century European culture. Salome was soon the subject of innumerable ...

Section 4 Conversations

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17 An Imaginary Armenian Canadian Homeland: Gariné Torossian's Dialogue with Egoyan

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pp. 331-341

Like Atom Egoyan, Gariné Torossian is an Armenian Canadian who has found refuge in experimental styles of filmmaking, and her works, like his, revel in the complexity of identity and its role in the artistic imagination. These two Toronto-based filmmakers, moreover, have enjoyed a dialogue about their shared preoccupations, such as Arshile Gorky, technology, Armenia, diaspora, ...

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18 Ripple Effects: Atom Egoyan Speaks with Monique Tschofen

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pp. 343-357

Monique Tschofen Your parents were artists before they moved to Canada. Your sister is a concert pianist. And you have been fully immersed in the arts since you were in your teens. You were writing plays that were actually performed at theatre festivals when you were as young as thirteen. You've performed classical guitar. Then when you were an undergraduate student, you ...

Filmography: Atom Egoyan’s Oeuvre: Theatre, Film, Opera, Installation

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pp. 359-375

Bibliography: Comprehensive Bibliography on Atom Egoyan

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pp. 377-401

Notes on Contributors

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pp. 403-407

Index

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pp. 409-417