Synopsis: People tell stories. In Toronto, an art historian lectures on Arshile Gorky (1904 -1948), an Armenian painter who lived through the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire. A director invites the historian to help him include Gorky's story in a film about the genocide and Turkish assault on the town of Van. The historian's family is under stress: her son is in love with his step-sister, who blames the historian for the death of her father. The daughter wants to revisit her father's death and change that story. An aging customs agent tells his son about his long interview with the historian's son, who has returned from Turkey with canisters of film. All the stories connect.
Genre: Drama, War
Director(s): Atom Egoyan
Production: Miramax Films
  12 wins & 13 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
115 min

- You can't bring this in.

- Please.

- No fruit or vegetables.

That includes...

pomegranates. It's on your form.

- I like to eat the seed

of this fruit.

One each day. For luck.

- I'm sorry, that's not allowed.

For security

reasons, please do not leave

your bags unattended.

Veuillez garder avec vous

vos bagages a main

en tout temps

pour des raisons de securite

- What are you doing?

- This way, I don't need

to bring it in.

I eat it here,

at the gate of your country.


So, I bring luck in my stomach.

Will you try it?

Raffi, the real point of this poem

is that the girlfriend is crazy!

'No!' The girlfriend said angrily,

'I want your mother's heart!'

So the boy went and killed his mother.

You know what they say...

There's always

a woman at the heart of it.

As he ran through the streets

with her heart in his hands,

he tripped and fell.

His mother's heart cried out...

'My poor boy!'

'Did you hurt yourself?'

- You know what?

I completely forgot

you had a party.

- I told you she...

The party's not the point.

The fact is, you make

these physical appearances

without letting anybody know.

I mean, it makes

perfect sense to me.

- Why would I need

to tell anyone?

- I'm not saying

you need permission.

Permission for what?

- Celia, just try to understand

her point of view.

Raffi, stop talking about your mother.

Why can't I read her book?

- Just wait till it comes out.

- But you've read it.

- Give me your copy.

- No.

- Why not?

I'm part of the family.

- Look, I promised her that I...

- What?

- I wouldn't give you my copy.

- Please.

- Celia, come on.

- I'm making it hard for you

to be the perfect son.

I'm sorry.

- I don't get why

it has to be this way.

- Yes, you do.

- I was happier

when you got along.

- It wasn't as much fun.

- Says who?

- The ghost of the father...

my father, not yours.

Yours died like a hero.

Mine died in a stupid accident,

according to her.

You look after your goals,

Raffi. And l'II look after mine.

- Did you give her my book?

- This is too weird for me.

- What is weird, Raffi?

Smoking pot? Or sleeping

with your step-sister?

- I'm old enough to know what...

- What are you telling me, Raffi?

That this is all normal?

That she should continue

to harass me?

Tell people that l'm responsible

for her father's death?

No one asked her to come here.

She could've stayed in Montreal.

- She needed us.

- What she needs is to destroy me

the same way

she thinks I destroyed him.

- Mom...

- She will never understand

why I stopped loving her father's.

- Or for seeing someone else?

- I'm not accountable to her.

- I am.

- Why?

- Because I love her.

That's a new twist to the story.

Why do you need to call it a story?

Don't you have anything better to do

at your age than fall in love?

My age? You were married at my age!

- Thank you.

- Tony, why don't you say grace.

- For what we are about

to receive, may the Lord

make us truly grateful. Amen.

- Amen.

- Dad?

- Yes.

- Why didn't you say 'Amen'?

- Well, I say it inside.

- Inside where?

- Inside my head.

- Can God hear it

inside your head?

- What do you think, Dad?

- God hears all your thoughts.

- But you don't believe in God.

Grandpa, that's not really

what happened.

- See you.

- Bye, Grandpa.

- Here's the situation, Dad.

Whenever Tony comes over alone,

he's fine.

We play, he laughs,

he's full of joy.

Whenever you're around,

he becomes quiet and withdrawn.

- That isn't true, Philip.

- And we can't stand it.

The more oppression you...

- Oppression?

He loves when l'm there.

- The more you bring this heavy

cloud into our apartment,

the more he believes

that the way we live is wrong.

- Now, I have never

told him that.

- You don't need to.

He can feel your disgust.

- Philip...

- And where did he get that...

Ali doesn't believe in God?

- He asked me why your friend

doesn't say grace with us...

- My friend.

- I told him he had his own God.

And that's true.

Philip, l'm...

l'm trying really hard to...

accept all this. I really am.

- Dad...

you're retiring soon.

You're gonna have a lot

of time on your hands.

Either you make an effort

to change your attitude,

or you're not... welcome

at our place anymore.

- Where you coming from?

- Turkey.

- Can you open this?

What are these?

- It's film.

It's motion-picture film.

It's for a movie.

I have, uh...

- This sort of thing is usually

done through a bonder.

- Well, they wanted me

to hand-deliver it.

- Who's 'they'?

- It's very valuable footage.

- Can you open it?

- Well, no.

It's exposed film.

It'II destroy it.

- Oh?

- It's for a movie that's

being shot here in Canada.

I had to go to Turkey

to get some process shots.

- Process shots?

- Shots that'II be used

for digital effects. And plates.

That sort of thing.

- I don't understand.

- There needs to be scenes

of hundreds of people

passing through these places.

And it's too expensive

to take actors and extras

to the middle of nowhere, so we

shoot empty shots of locations.

It's cheaper

to add people in later on.

- Huh.

L'II be back.

Arshile Gorky's Studio

New York City, 1934

- Arshile Gorky remains one

of the most influential figures

in modern art.

His most famous painting,

'The Artist and His Mother,'

is based on a photograph

that was taken in 1912;

the only image that exists

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Atom Egoyan

Atom Egoyan, CC is a Canadian director, writer, producer and former actor. Egoyan made his career breakthrough with Exotica, a film set primarily in and around the fictional Exotica strip club. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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