Atom Egoyan
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Egoyan: Exotica (1994) Uno spacciatore di uccelli esotici, Thomas, passa il controllo della dogana, ma e` sorvegliato dagli agenti. Il suo compagno di taxi gli regala due biglietti per il balletto. Zoe, una donna incinta, gestisce il club Exotica, nel quale lavorano la giovane seducente Christine e il dj Eric. Il club e` un lussuoso e raffinato strip bar. Eric annuncia lo show di Christina, che si presenta vestita da scolaretta. Thomas si reca al balletto e scopre che ogni sera diverse persone aspettano di poter comprare un biglietto da qualcuno che se ne vuole liberare. Offre il suo a un giovane aitante e vanno insieme al balletto. Francis, un avventore, confabula con Christine come se si conoscessero da lungo tempo. Un flashback fa vedere il dj e Christine quando erano piu` giovani e camminavano nei campi con altri ragazzi alla ricerca di una bambina scomparsa. Francis accompagna poi a casa la sua babysitter Tracie (anche se non ci sono bambini a casa sua), che paga e congeda sotto la casa del padre, un suo vecchio amico. Zoe e` mortificata che il dj debba annunciare lo show di Christine, e Eric lo fa sempre in maniera tesa: Christine e` infatti diventata l'amante di Zoe, e un tempo era stata la ragazza di Eric. Christine e` fredda e distaccata, come se avesse perso le sue emozioni. Ogni sera Francis va a vederla e lei si spoglia al suo tavolo. Lui e` preoccupato per lei. Ogni sera assume la babysitter, affinche' gli guardi la casa mentre lui e` al club, e Tracie passa quelle ore esercitandosi agli strumenti. Thomas gestisce un negozio di pets. Francis viene mandato a "audit" il suo negozio. Adesso Thomas va frequentemente al balletto: compra due biglietti, poi ne regala uno a qualche ragazzo che e` senza. Christine ha scoperto il contratto fra Zoe e Eric nel quale Eric si impegna a mettere incinta Zoe. Thomas porta uno sconosciuto a casa. Eric, geloso di Francis, lo convince a toccare Christine. Quando Francis lo fa, Eric lo scaraventa fuori dal locale per aver violato una delle regole sacre. Thomas e lo sconosciuto fanno l'amore. La mattina dopo le uova in cui Thomas ha nascosto la droga sono scomparse. Tracey non vuole piu` fare da babysitter per Francis: e` spaventata dalla sua insistenza a comportarsi come se avesse ancora una figlia. Francis ha scoperto che Thomas e` uno spacciatore di droga e gli propone un compromesso: se Thomas lo aiuta con Christine, nel rapporto non ci sara` menzione del money laundering. Thomas si reca al club e interroga Christine, mentre Francis ascolta tutto grazie a un microfono nascosto. Christine rivela a Thomas che la figlia di Francis venne uccisa. Eric nota che Christine si commuove parlando con Thomas e diventa di nuovo geloso. Anche questa volta convince Thomas a toccarla. Francis si precipita da Zoe ma questa e` imperterrita nel proibirgli l'ingresso. Christine e Eric hanno un alterco di fronte a Zoe. Eric viene licenziato. Francis lo obbliga ad aiutarlo a uccidere Eric, gli spiega che sua figlia venne uccisa e lui venne sospettato dell'omicidio in quanto la moglie aveva una relazione con suo fratello: nel giro di pochi secondi perse moglie e figlia. Quando Francis si trova di fronte Eric, questi gli rivela di essere lui il giovane che scopri` il cadavere della bambina. Si abbracciano piangendo. Intanto Thomas tocca Christine, ma nessuno interviene. Flashbackj. Thomas e` a casa con la figlia. Accompagna la babysitter a casa: si tratta di Christine, bruttina e triste.
Evidentemente lo shock dell'omicidio aveva destabilizzato quella piccola comunita`.

Egoyan: The Sweet Hereafter (1997), from the Russell Banks novel,

Il racconto di come un avvocato tenta di convincere le vittime a fare causa e` intercalato a flashback del giorno in cui accadde l'incidente di schoolbus. La prima scena mostra una famiglia di tre persone romanticamente addormentate insieme, la bambina accovacciata contro la madre. L'uomo, Mitchell, e` adesso un anziano avvocato, sta parlando con la figlia Zoe al cellulare da un autolavaggio. La figlia e` una drogata che e` scomparsa da dieci anni e gli telefona soltanto per chiedere soldi. Lui, freddamente rassegnato, la ascolta, ma senza piu` credere alle sue storie. Flashback: una ragazza del villaggio, Nicole, che canta le sue canzoni su un palcoscenico fra le giostre, e il padre che la ascolta estatico. Nicole e` un'altra delle voci che racconta la storia. I due sembrano piu` amanti che padre e figlia. L'avvocato inizia il suo pellegrinaggio fra le famiglie delle vittime, e fra il loro insaziabile dolore: i Walker, Risa e marito, i genitori adottivi di Bear l'indiano. Ogni volta l'incontro e` preceduto da un flashback in cui si vedono i genitori accompagnare i figli alla fermata del bus oppure i bambini sull'autobus, l'esperta autista Dolores e la ragazza Nicole davanti. Il vedovo Billy vive soltanto per i suoi due bambini e ogni mattina raggiunge l'autobus e lo segue per un po' salutandoli. Intanto l'avvocato sta volando su un aereo e la sua compagna di fila si scopre essere una ex compagna di scuola di Zoe. A lei Mitchell rivela la lunga trafila di cliniche e riabilitazioni che sono state del tutto inutili. Billy aveva una relazione con una donna sposata, Risa, madre di un bambino handicappato anch'egli perito nell'incidente. Nicole, che faceva anche da babysitter per Billy, aveva una relazione segreta con il padre. Non tutto era pertanto angelico nel villaggio.
L'autista Dolores e` sposata a un paralitico.
L'avvocato tenta di convincere i genitori dei bambini che qualuno e` responsabile della tragedia e deve pagare. Rimane ambiguo se lo fa soltanto per i soldi o perche' vuole vendicare la tragedia di sua figlia o perche' e` sinceramente convinto della causa che combatte. Davanti a loro, comunque, si erge a giustiziere.
Finalmente il flashback raggiunge il momento dell'incidente. Billy vede l'autobus slittare, travolgere il guardrail e precipitare nel lago e poi il ghiaccio fendersi e l'autobus sprofondare. Poi c'e` soltanto da riconoscere i cadaveri. Per Billy la vita e` finita.
L'avvocato racconta alla sua compagna di aereo quando Zoe venne infetta da ragni e lui la porto` all'ospedale appena in tempo.
Billy e` l'unico a rifiutare i servizi dell'avvocato e a minacciarlo. Sembra persino aver paura dell'inchiesta (era lui a manutenere l'autobus). Nicole, che si e` salvata ma e` ridotta a una sedia a rotelle, viene incoraggiata dai genitori a collaborare, perche' hanno bisogno di soldi per curarla. Billy tenta invano di dissuaderli.
Zoe telefona che e` HIV-positiva e chiede di nuovo soldi. Il padre questa volta si commuove e promette aiuto. Sono passati due anni dall'incidente.
Il giorno della deposizione Nicole asserisce che l'autista stava andando troppo veloce: la colpa e` dell'autista. Il padre sa che lei ha mentito (forse per metter fine ai litigi e alle tensioni), ma l'inchiesta e` chiusa.
L'avvocato arriva all'aeroporto e intravede Dolores, che adesso lavora come autista di uno shuttle d'albergo. L'avvocato sta andando a trovare Zoe. Nicole medita poeticamente, ma non si capisce se ha mentito o meno.
Forse troppo frammentato per colpire davvero.
If English is your first language and you could translate this text, please contact me.

Ararat (2002) is a historical epic about the Ottoman genocide of Armenians of 1915-18. The narrative is, as usual, intricate and intriguing, but some complications feel unnecessary (for example, the fact that the main characters of the plot are related to the customs official via a museum clerk who is the lover of an actor in the film that the film is about). A man with a French accent has just arrived at an airport, apparently thinking of a distant mountain. As he goes through customs, he is told that he cannot bring fruit into the country. He then eats a pomegranate on the spot, rather than throwing it away.
Teeagers Raffi and Celia are step-siblings and lovers. Celia is convinced that Raffi's mother, Ani, is responsible for her father's death, and asks Raffi for Ani's book, which he gives to her against Ani's will.
The old custom official, David, has problems with his son, a homosexual but nonetheless a father of a child, who is afraid of his father's influence on his child. The son is not happy with the way the old man expresses his contempt. David is close to retirement but still strict in his job. At the airport he stops Raffi, who is bringing in a roll of film shot in Turkey, suspecting that it may be used to smuggle drugs.
The film flashes back to 1934, to the studio of an Armenian painter, Arshile. Then after a few seconds the film jumps directly to Turkey, among the shepherds of the mountains, when two people are being immortalized in a photo. It turns out this picture is part of a presentation by Ani, who happens to be an expert on the painter. Among the audience are Raffi and Celia, and Celia keeps interrupting the presentation with malicious questions. Eventually Celia accuses Ani in front of everybody of confusing the painter with her first husband (and Raffi's father), who was killed by the police for trying to assassinate a Turkish diplomat (Celia calls him a "terrorist"). Among the audience is also the French man of the first scene, who asks Celia to shut up. It turns out he is a filmmaker, Edward, and the son of a survivor of the Armenian genocide, who is intrigued by the painter of Ani's presentation because the painter Arshile was there, in Turkey, during the genocide as a child. The filmmaker and his scriptwriter hires her as an advisor to the film.
Back home, Celia and Raffi are making love and exchanging melancholy about their respective father's deaths: Raffi's father was a "terrorist" (but Raffi claims he was a "freedom fighter"), while Celia's father committed suicide, or at least so Ani claims.
The filmmaker, Edward, has dreamed all his life of making a film that would be a tribute to his mother's story, and her mother was obsessed with Mt Ararat (the mountain of the first scene). The painter's journal is going to be the starting point. The set of the film is basically a reconstruction of the memories of Edward's mother. The film will tell the story of a child (the painter) who was sent out by an American doctor to tell the world what was about to happen to the Armenians, surrounded by the Ottoman army. Ani is disturbed by the many distortions of the facts, but fascinated by the idea of working with a famous filmmaker.
David's homosexual son works as an attendant in a museum. His partner, a half Turkish actor, comes to tell him that he has just been given a part in a film (Edward's film), an exciting news.
Back to the airport, David interrogates Raffi about the film that he wants to bring into the country. Raffi claims that he went to Turkey to shoot a few additional scenes. David is dubious because it shows that the film was already shot before he left. Raffi tells him about the politically sensitive nature of the film. David asks what the film is about.
Egoyan moves from one plane to another: an apparent flashback shows the boy captured by the evil Turkish general (the half-Turkish homosexual actor), but, as the camera rotates, we see the director and the rest of the crew, i.e. that this is the set of the film, and then suddenly Raffi picks up the tale in the customs office where he is explaining the film to David. This is actually Raffi telling David how months earlier they made a film about a genocide that took place decades earlier.
Somehow the flashback of Raffi during the making of the film overextends itself as it becomes a side story of him trying to convince the skpetical half-Turkish actor that the genocide really happened.
Back to the customs incident, David asks Raffi to show him some of the scenes that he shot in Turkey. They are very personal, but David seems very interested nonetheless. David has already found out that Raffi is the son of a terrorist.
At the museum Celia interrupts another Ani lecture with questions about suicide: the Armenian painter eventually committed suicide, just like her own father. Celia accuses Ani of having driven her father to suicide, but Ani simply does not know how the man died: he just fell. Celia grabs a knife and tries to destroy a work of art by the Armenian painter. Ani is shocked because that painting to her is a message from the past about the tragedy that took place. The painting by the Armenian painter was a painting of a photograph that his mother gave him: he painted it after the photograph was taken by the Turks. But he erased his mother's hands from the painting.
Now the scene moves again to the customs office, where Raffi is relating this incident between Celia and Ani to David. David's curiosity is well founded: it turns out that Celia had been busted before for dealing drugs. Raffi is the son of a terrorist and the half-brother of a drug dealer.
Raffi resumes the story of the film to David, a scene that we see interpolated with scenes of the film that is being made (which now are only scenes of atrocities). All the time Raffi has insisted that he went to Turkey to shoot some scenes that are necessary to complete the film. But Raffi cannot provide any evidence that this is the case. Eventually he calls his mother, Ani. David asks her questions about her book and her involvement with the film. Her mother would like to help her son, but it then becomes obvious (hysterical crowds) that she is at the premiere of the film. Which means that the film has been finished, which means that Raffi has lied to David. Raffi went to Turkey on a personal mission, not for the film.
David now has to open the cans to make sure they contain film and not drugs. In a completely dark room he absolves Raffi and lets him go. But it turns out that the cans contained heroin: Raffi had been duped by someone to carry heroin. David believes that Raffi did it involuntarily and leaves him the illusion that he was carrying film.
Chloe is a psychological erotic thriller of sorts. Chloe is a cynical prostitute who is looking for her chance in life. Catherine is a gynecologist, married to handsome and popular professor David. An attractive student is flirting with him. It is David's birthday and Catherine has organized a surprise cocktail party. David calls that he has missed the plane. The following day she finds a photo of him and the attractive student taken the night before: he was out partying with her while Catherine had organized the surprise. David never has time for her: she feels old, invisible and ugly. Her teenage son Michael is another disappointment: he shows no respect for his mother. Catherine accidentally meets Chloe and offers her money to test her husband. Chloe meets David and provokes him. Chloe reports back that the seduction was successful: David does cheat on Catherine. Catherine is humiliateda. Chloe falls from the bicycle and gets slightly injured. Catherine takes care of her and Chloe tells her more of her husband's erotic advances. Catherine is almost having an organism listening to the description of her husband making love to Chloe, like she is having sex with him vicariously through Chloe. Chloe tries to kiss Catherine. Chloe comes from the gutters, while Catherine belongs to the society of cocktail parties and classical music (her son is studying classical piano). Catherne capitulates and becomes Chloe's passionate lover. David confronts her after Catherine spends the night out, but it's Catherine who accuses him of cheating. David swears he is not. Catherine decides to stop her affair with Chloe and pays her off. Chloe is devastated to be treated like a prostitute: she is truly in love with Catherine. Catherine decides to confront her husband and invites both Chloe and David at the same cafe. When they show up, it is obvious that David does not know Chloe at all: Chloe has made up the entire story of her affair with David. Catherine, devastated, tells David everything that happened. Realizing that all happened because she loved it and didn't feel loved back, David forgives her. Meanwhile, Chloe takes her revenge by seducing Michael. Catherine finds them naked in her own bed. Catherine is furious. Chloe almost kills her, then forces her to a kiss, while Michael watches them without hearing their words. Then Chloe jumps out of the window to her death. At the next elegant cocktail party Catherine, David and Michael are all smiling. Indirectly, Chloe has healed them and reconciled them.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

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