Ararat Atom Egoyan

Ararat Atom Egoyan
Possibly the most sympathetic and humane historical war epic visually realised to date, Atom Egoyan's Ararat faced frequent criticism for being too complex and intellectual during its unfortunately limited release. But while Susan Shipton's elliptically period-defying editing and Egoyan's trademark tendency toward raising concern, rather than fruitlessly trying to answer questions, can lead to a difficult interpretation, at its base points Ararat is fairly straightforward, sliding between two "stories": the making of a "real" big budget epic movie about the Armenian genocide, made by a director (Charles Aznavour) wishing to tell the personal and collective story of his family's past, and present day encounters between the cast and crew of the film, including a young Armenian production assistant, Raffi (David Alpay). Discovering his family's history and the atrocities of the historically-denied Turkish genocidal relocation and massacre of up to one-and-a-half-million Armenians between 1915 and 1923, Raffi moves from innocent witness to reactionary youth, finally finding solace in filmmaking and setting off many other characters on their search for truths through his own intellectual development. Luckily, this double-disc edition lives up to the intricacies and passion of Egoyan's vision, exhausting its bonus material in Criterion Collection fashion. Egoyan himself admits off the top that he's envisioned the DVD commentary as a crucial aspect of the film since its inception, and proceeds to provide a stunningly calculated and passionately told account of each and every point he can clarify or expand upon. As well, the "making of Ararat" featurette and other material reveal the complete collaborative nature of the project, the massive undertaking, and just how deeply personal this film was for everyone. But perhaps the best part about the disc is simply that Ararat can now be viewed with footnote-like bonus material that provides a fascinating glimpse into the mind of one of the world's most original and challenging directors, and why he was personally compelled to tell this particular story this particular way. Extras: commentary; deleted scenes with commentary; featurettes; Portrait of Arshile short film; Raffi's video footage; historical information; original trailer. (Alliance Atlantis)