Atom Egoyan's Ararat (2002) has been misread and inappropriately critiqued as a failed cinematic representation of the Armenian genocide. The author of this article argues that the film is instead an ambitious meditation on the question of how to represent genocide in general, and the Armenian genocide specifically. He traces a number of themes in Ararat, including the political stakes involved in genocide commemoration, the reasons for and costs of denial, the difficulty and urgency of constructing a past when only ruins remain, the problematic nature of cinematic treatments of genocide, the intensely personal ways in which collective memory helps to shape individual and family identities, and the complexities of determining which versions of the past are reliable. Further, the author discusses the possible consequences of the film's clearly unintended suggestion that, ultimately, there are no solid criteria for choosing between competing versions of the past.


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pp. 235-255
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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