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Movie Review: Ararat

Story: Quick! Can you tell me where Armenia is located? Do you know any Armenians? Did you know that 1.5 million Armenians were slaughtered in 1915 by the Turks? No? Well, that is the main point of this fascinating, yet flawed film by the very special writer/director Atom Egoyan, who is himself, Armenian-Canadian.

Egoyan chose to tell this story via the film within a film oft-used technique. But, Egoyan did not stop there. He also depicts three parallel stories to emphasize how a tragic history of a people continues to live on through the generations that follow. Arshile Gorky, (one of my favorite painters) is featured as part of the story line. He was a survivor of the massacre of 1915. (I admit to a certain bias whenever they showed him or his work).

The overriding theme of ethnic hatred permeates the story and it would be impossible not to think about our current world situation while viewing this film. Hatred, unfortunately, is alive and well and deeply rooted throughout the world.

This is not a film for everyone. It is dark and rambling at times, but I think if you care about important topics, it should go on your 'to see' list. By the way, Ararat, is a mountain in Turkey and is thought to be the resting place of Noah's Ark (but that's another story).

Acting: The acting was fine all around. The leading young man, David Alpay, was particularly passionate and believable. It is not too often that one gets to see a cast with so many Armenians in it.

Critters: Some scavenging dogs.

Food: Like everything else in Egoyan's work, there is always more to something than meets the eye. The only food item is a pomegranate, and it has a larger meaning.

Visual Art: Oodles of delectable work by Arshile Gorky both finished and in process. To view the painintg that was featured in the film, Go to: Whitney Museum of American Art | American Voices


Blatant Product Placement: None - unless you deem the artist, Gorky, as a product. Then he would be very blatant. I do hope that people go out to seek his rich body of work.

Soundtrack: Unobtrusive

Theater Audience: Fairly crowded with folks, like me, who enjoy history and dark pieces. I think I spotted a few Armenians in the crowd.

Predictability Level: High

Oscar Worthy: No

Nit Picking: I like challenging films but there were just too many story lines going on in this one. The story line that bothered me the most involved the step daughter and the leading young man. If Egoyan had deleted this part of the plot it would have been a tighter and better, film.

Big Screen or Rental: Oh, go for the big screen. For some other Egoyan films, you could rent: Felicia's Journey, The Sweet Hereafter and Exotica.

Length: Under the 2 hour Lobo rule.