The Canadian-Armenian director Atom Egoyan's Ararat is probably the closes thing, and probably the closes thing to the truth, because it's a film about the making of a film about the Armenian Genocide directed by Edward Saroyan following the story of the young expressionist painter, Arshile Gorky and his struggles during the Genocide. And of course this film within the film is lavish and one dimensional that doesn't tell the truth. But our protagonist is the camera assistant Raffi, who's suppose to bring the film footage back to Canada from Turkey. But at the airport the custom officer (Christopher Plummer) suspect that there's other things inside the film cans besides film and Raffi tells him everything about the making of the film.
Ararat is not a bad film, but it's far from great, thanks to all it's almost useless subplots that doesn't evolves the genocide at all. and a to theatrical meta film making, which makes the film within the film a propaganda film. But Ararat also show us the other side and the doubt within the characters, and how their fascination to the Armenian genocide, where we see in the relation between Riffi and his mother. I also liked Christopher Plummer's performance and the interrogation plot line, which is for the outsider's who never heard of the Armenian genocide. I though this film was in a way to pretentious and to naive. I'm you looking for the ultimate coverage of the Armenian genocide, then sadly this is the closes you get, because theirs few films about that subject matter. I would have loved if this film was provoking, but it isn't. It's a safe drama film. I hope this a real epic about the Armenian genocide is coming soon. But for now, Ararat is the best we got, and it's overall not that bad. Thumbs up.
This is a very confusing film and yet it is very well made. The plot is told in trademark Egoyan fashion (non linear, damaged, alienated charcters) but the flaw is Egoyan's handling of the material. I was hoping that Egoyan would have made the film more emotional and heartbreaking like "Schindler's List" and just tell the story of the genocide, the Armenians sufferings and pain rather then adding different layers, different stories, and different characters to confuse movie goers. Sure that style has worked in previous Egoyan pictures but not in this one. Even the handling of the massacre lacks an emotional punch. Truth be told I didn't really care about the genocide of 1915 or it's recents events. What's worst, it's created in this film within a film making it all the more confusing.
With that being said I guess what I admired about the picture was the performance from Elias Koteas who plays a homosexual character and is given a huge part to play in a movie about the genocide. Koteas character is seen very uncomfortable playing a racist, turkish villian (and well who wouldn't be?) but plays him nonetheless although he wonders if he was given the part for the right reasons or the wrong one? The film also deals with a filmmaker making a a picture about the 1915 massacre, a young adult who is trying to buy his way through customs but is accused of smuggling drugs by carrying them in film cans, a woman who is an expert on Arshile Gorky is haunted by her step daughter's debatable questions, and on and on and on.
I guess I would still somewhat recommend the film since it is very well made and yet it is Egoyan's least accomplished works he has ever made. If only the film had some kinda resonance, "Ararat" would not only of find it's true audience, the picture could have been seen as a true work of art.