Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Atom Egoyan

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Atom Egoyan

Article excerpt

Jonathan Romney, Atom Egoyan (London: British Film Institute, 2003), vii + 226pp. Paper. £13.99. ISBN 0-85170-877-3.

One of the most theoretically self-aware film directors, Atom Egoyan's output comprises a sophisticated series of examinations into memory, identity and representation. Coming from mixed Armenian-Canadian heritage, Egoyan has explored his own diasporic identity alongside wider issues of Canadian multiculturalism in early films such as Next of Kin (1984) and Family Viewing (1987). Even his most recent feature, Ararat (2002), returns to this theme, exploring the attempted Turkish genocide of Armenians during World War I from the perspective of modern Canada. Here, multiculturalism is problematised in terms of the degree to which it involves forgetting, or even denying, aspects of history. In the meantime, Egoyan has constructed an impressive body of work, examining the traumas of sexual and cultural identity. Egoyan's art has been one of progression and accretion: his films are variations on an overriding theme, exploring the complexities of identity formation in an age dominated by mass media representations.

Jonathan Romney's new monograph, one of the BFI's series on world directors, is admirably attuned to the intricacies of Egoyan's oeuvre. He provides rich and accomplished readings of the individual works, as well as a coherent overview of Egoyan's career to date. …

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