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Ararat
     

Ararat

5.0 6
Director: Atom Egoyan,

Cast: Atom Egoyan, David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian

 

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Atom Egoyan's complex drama comes to DVD from Miramax with a surprising two-disc set. On the first disc, the 1.78:1 anamorphic image is sporadically soft, but never to a distraction. For the most part, the picture is sharp and detailed, with excellent use of color; skin tones are equally fine and precise. The sound is also better than expected. Both 5.1 Dolby Digital

Overview

Atom Egoyan's complex drama comes to DVD from Miramax with a surprising two-disc set. On the first disc, the 1.78:1 anamorphic image is sporadically soft, but never to a distraction. For the most part, the picture is sharp and detailed, with excellent use of color; skin tones are equally fine and precise. The sound is also better than expected. Both 5.1 Dolby Digital and DTS tracks are included, and, for a smaller dramatic film, there is an exceptionally good sound field. Surrounds are used occasionally to the right effect, while the dialogue is clear throughout. The sole supplement on the first disc is a scene-specific commentary track from Egoyan. His extraordinarily well-spoken comments center on symbolism and objects, but, for many, this track may prove to be too intellectual, as it's far from entertaining, although is exceedingly factual. The second disc continues the story behind the story, with a number of different features, including a handful of deleted scenes with optional director commentary, a very brief interview with co-star Arsinée Khanjian about being involved in this personal production (she is the wife of the director) and Egoyan's BBC-commissioned short film Portrait of Arshile. Of the greatest importance may be a 29-minute documentary, "The Making Of Ararat," where, along with behind-the-scenes footage and location shooting, the crew discusses the importance of other members. Fortunately, it doesn't play as studio fluff and offers a real measure of insight about this production. In addition, there are relatively brief interviews with Egoyan, stars David Alpay, Bruce Greenwood, Eric Bogosian, Christopher Plummer, Charles Aznavour, Marie-Josee Croze, and producer Robert Lantos, although some comments seem overly repetitive. Finally, along with the theatrical trailer and a text section on the history of the Armenian genocide, there is a nine-minute segment called "Raffi's Video Footage" shot by Hrair Hawk Khatcherian with his commentary on gathering footage around Mount Ararat. Egoyan's films are so personal and so intimate that it's a wonder they don't simply slip through the cracks. With great satisfaction, DVDs such as this will preserve his particular vision.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Eddy Crouse
A breathtaking rumination on history, art, and compulsion, Atom Egoyan's Ararat is at once the Armenian-Canadian director's most urgent and personal work. A meld of haunted feelings, the film is also a rare look at the repercussions of the Armenian genocide of 1915, during which one million people were exterminated by the Turkish government. As in his masterpiece The Sweet Hereafter, Egoyan braids several disparate stories, eschewing sentimentality. The movie begins with Armenian-American artist Arshile Gorky in a loft, painting his landmark Mother and Son, and then cuts to the present day, where mother and son Ani (Arsinee Khanjian) and Raffi (David Alpay) are sifting through their various tensions. Raffi is returning from Turkey with some film to be used on a production about the 1915 genocide, and he is detained by customs inspector David (Christopher Plummer). In the meantime, director Edward Saroyan (Armenian-French vocal legend Charles Aznavour) is trying to fold a Gorky into his movie at the behest of the screenwriter (Eric Bogosian). Ani, an art historian, comes aboard as a consultant but bristles at the prospect of signing off on the film-in-the-making's dramatic license -- including the displacement of Armenia's legendary Mount Ararat itself. As the pieces begin to fit together, Ararat's historical perspective and significance take shape, thanks to the cast's all-around graceful performances. Like Polanski's The Pianist, one comes away from Ararat with the feeling that the story gestated in its creator for a long time, and the rewards come in the form of the obvious commitment and emotion that Egoyan brings to the table.
All Movie Guide - Todd Kristel
Ararat addresses a very emotional historical issue, the 1915 Armenian massacre, in a relatively detached and cerebral manner. The film's nonlinear structure, deliberate pace, somewhat opaque characterization, and themes of obsession and dysfunctional family relationships won't come as a great surprise to viewers familiar with writer-director Atom Egoyan's other films. However, those who are unfamiliar with his previous work and expect a historical drama about the Armenian massacre may be surprised to find that he cultivates emotional distance by telling this historical tale through a film-within-a-film and intertwining this story with several murky subplots. Indeed, Ararat could be considered less a film about the massacre itself than an exploration of the nature of mediated images and the difficulty of discovering the truth, which are themes that Egoyan has explored in previous films as well. This approach results in a movie that's filled with interesting ideas (although perhaps not as original or provocative as Egoyan may have hoped) but isn't engaging on an emotional level. Furthermore, some parts of the film feel unresolved (such as Raffi's reasons for going to Turkey and the details behind his father's death) while others seem overly contrived (particularly the way Egoyan uses the sequences in which a customs official interrogates Raffi as a pretext to lecture the audience on Armenian history). Egoyan deserves credit for creating a film that addresses this important but often neglected part of history while simultaneously acknowledging the difficulty in using movies to tell history, but it's unfortunate that he didn't make a film that was less cryptic and more affecting.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/22/2003
UPC:
0786936221008
Original Release:
2002
Rating:
R
Source:
Miramax
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:55:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature commentary track w/ director Atom Egoyan; Deleted scenes with optional commentary; "Making of Ararat" featurette; "Arsinée Khanjian on Ararat" featurette; Film short "Portrait of Arshile" with optional commentary; Raffi's video footage; Historical information; Theatrical trailer; DVD-ROM links; Dolby digital 5.1 surround; Dolby DTS 5.1 surround; Dolby digital 2.0 stereo; Widescreen (1.78:1) - enhanced for 16 x 9 televisions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
David Alpay Raffi
Charles Aznavour Edward Saroyan
Eric Bogosian Rouben
Brent Carver Philip
Marie-Josée Croze Celia
Bruce Greenwood Martin/Clarence Ussher
Arsinée Khanjian Ani
Elias Koteas Ali/Jevdet Bey
Christopher Plummer David
Simon Abkarian Arshile Gorky
Lousnak Shushan Gorky
Raoul Bhaneja Photographer
Lousnak Abdalian Gorky's Mother
Garen Boyajian Young Gorky
Setta Keshishian Wailing Mother
Shant Srabian Doctor 1
Max Morrow Tony
Christie MacFadyen Janet
Dawn Roach Customs Officer
Haig Sarkissian Sevan
Gina Wilkinson Art Teacher
Arshile Egoyan Child At Gallery
Kevork Arslanian Armenian Fighter
Vic Keshishian Armenian Fighter
Arthur Hagopian Armenian Fighter
George Kharlakian Armenian Fighter
Shant Kabriellan Armenian Fighter
Varazh Stephen Doctor 2
Samir Alnadi Turkish Officer
Carlo Essagian Turkish Soldier
Rose Sarkisyan Translator
Chris Gillett Celia's Father
Jean Yoon Third Assistent Director
Shahan Bulat-Matossian Wounded Teen Patient
Manuel Ishkhanian Teen Patient's Brother
Susan Raymond German Woman
Lorna Noura Kevorkian Armenian Bride
Mandyf Nissani Armenian Bride
Manal Elmasri Armenian Bride
Roberta Angelica Armenian Bride
Andrea Loren Armenian Bride
Araxie Keshishian Armenian Bride
Linda Gizirian Rape Victim
Nicole Anoush Strang Girl Under Cart
Erica Ehm Journalist
Nicolas Dodd Conductor
Dave Spence-Sales Conductor
Al J. Vrkljan Conductor

Technical Credits
Atom Egoyan Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Janine Anderton Production Manager
Phillip Barker Production Designer
Fergus Barnes Asst. Director
John Buchan Casting
Kathleen Climie Art Director
Katherine Climie Art Director
Sylvain Cournoyer Makeup
Patricia Cuccia Set Decoration/Design
Sandra Cunningham Co-producer
Mychael Danna Score Composer
Peter Flood Set Decoration/Design
Matthew Kershaw Asst. Director
Manuel Keusseyan Translator
Robert Lantos Producer
Jenny Lewis Casting
Cam MacDonald Camera Operator
Joanne D. Malo Asst. Director
Steve Munro Sound/Sound Designer
Ali Murva Special Effects
Beth Pasternak Costumes/Costume Designer
Ross Redfern Sound/Sound Designer
Julia Rosenberg Associate Producer
Garfield Russell Asst. Director
Paul Sarossy Cinematographer
Susan Shipton Editor
Charles A. Taylor Consultant/advisor
Simone Urdl Associate Producer
David J. Webb Consultant/advisor

Scene Index

Side #1 -- Disc 1
1. Opening Credits [:01]
2. Cultural Differences [4:34]
3. Normal Relations [4:32]
4. Making an Effort [3:34]
5. Tracing the Past [4:11]
6. Survivor Stories [6:12]
7. Re-Creating History [3:44]
8. Poetic License [2:28]
9. Cause and Effect [5:30]
10. Politically Sensitive [2:33]
11. Expressing Gratitude [2:14]
12. Deliver Us From Evil [2:34]
13. Systematic Destruction [5:25]
14. Tragic Heroes [4:05]
15. Threat to Security [3:08]
16. Anatomy of Hatred [4:03]
17. Private Viewing [6:05]
18. Gorky's Pain [4:47]
19. Story Left Untold [3:50]
20. Facing the Truth [3:09]
21. Sacred Code [3:46]
22. Crimes Against Humanity [2:12]
23. Mother and Child [2:39]
24. Long Road Home [5:01]
25. Exposing Evil [5:58]
26. Redemption [7:08]
27. Father's Ghost [3:14]
28. End Credits [3:38]

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Ararat 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The movie offers the first real insight into the Armenian genocide of WWI. A movie within a movie with elements of documentary. The treatment mostly depends on the story of a missionary in Armenian Ottoman Empire during WWI, as well as an artist who survives the genocide as a young child, and attempte to characterize with varying success the Ottoman activity in suppressing and perhaps destroying Armenian society in Eastern Turkey. The movie is confusing because of the movie within a movie concept. Still, it succesfully portrayed the conflict within western societies in dealing with the Armenian genocide, particularily among Armenian and Turkish descendents. Acting and script are weak at times. There is some sense of miscasting, but you also gather that perhaps some stars considered this movie too poltically complicated to take a risk. Recommend strongly of you are interested in this part of hisotry or want to find out more, but also recommend reading a bit before viewing to supply an adequate perspective because historical elements are unclear in how they are presented or evolve. The larger scope of history is not presented. For instance, Ottoman and Russian motivations and manipulations that may have lead to and exacerbated the genocide are not made clear. in addition, it isn't made clear that other genocides were going on in the Ottoman Empire at the time, including a pogrom aimed at eliminating Greek influence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I reviewed this movie in a film study class. I have never felt more like a "stupid American" in my life. It was really eye opening to me how such a huge part of history was totally lost on me. Not only does it have a compelling story line, but the filmography is beautiful, and the historical relevance is, well, relevant. It have recommended this movie to a friend who has a Master's Degree in History, and I recommend it to movie lovers also. It's a definite must-see for anyone who considers themselves to be "knowledgeable".
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was touching and heartfelt and it finally brought out the truth about the Armenian genocide. This is by far one of he greatest movies ever and a must see for everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With this film, Egoyan brings the struggle for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide one step closer. Perhaps if turkey was punished at the time by the 'civilized world', the Armenian Genocide would not have become a blueprint or instruction manual for the Jewish Holocaust, the Somalian massacres, the massacres in Sumgait and Baku, massacres in Kosovo, and perhaps the turkish Genocide one day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am truly proud to be an Armenian. This is by far the most spectacular movie of all time. This movie deepened my pride in being Armenian. I will scermish with anyone who sayes otherwise. A spectacular movie. A triumphant movie, thank you Atom Egoyan
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this film to be a wake up call. How many victims in history have been forgotten and swept under the rug of politics and excuses. This film opens our eyes to the past wrongs done to the Armenian people and how future generations have been affected. The weaving of the different stories made a wonderful tapestry of humanity. The feelings were real and the symbolism of the artist and his painting we vivid.