Ararat (2002)

Ararat (2002)
  • 14001
  • R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release year: 2002 ()
  • Running time: 115 min
  • Original Title: Ararat
  • Voted: 14001

People tell stories. In Toronto, an art historian lectures on (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.

1Charles AznavourEdward Saroyan
2Brent CarverPhilip
3Eric BogosianRouben
4Simon AbkarianArshile Gorky
  • A hopeless hodgepodge by 7

    I don't have a dog in the historic fight here, but expected to learn something I didn't know from the film. As a history buff, I had high hopes of insight into the historic context of the time, the actions taken by the two sides, how they viewed the situation, and/or why they did what they did.

    Instead, the opportunity was squandered on a long, drawn out, absolutely boring melodrama involving some obscure family conflict, a gratuitous if titillating sex scene, some bizarre injection of homosexuality and atheism creating stress in an aging character with nothing at all to do with the history, and a lot of drippy and pointless personal drama. The only history to be seen consisted of one dimensional Turks and Armenians shooting each other, especially the former shooting and raping civilians of the latter.

    The actual historical actors were like cartoon characters. One might, for example, have liked to know that the American doctor was doing in the middle of Turkey. Or why the Turk commander felt he needed to do what he did. Instead, the historic conflict is treated with all the depth of a Road Runner cartoon, while the main focus is on some kid and his girlfriend going through an emotional life crisis. Either, done well, might have been interesting. Both mashed together and done poorly are like a cherry pie with asparagus filling.

    Boring, unenlightening, and patched together, it was as if someone had taken some cheap footage of war from a century ago and randomly spliced in parts of various soap operas. What a waste of an opportunity.

    This movie just sucked. I don't usually express my opinion that way, but frankly it just sucked. I can understand why either side with a political axe to grind might feel compelled to love or hate the film, but having none I found it almost unwatchably boring.

  • Egoyan's worst. by 3

    I ran out to see this in the theater since Egoyan was one of my favorite director's (that was until I saw this movie), with The Adjuster & Exotica my favorites. His talent has been on the decline since Exotica, perhaps because he can't make a film without his wife in it (Felicia's Journey being the exception). In this film she is awful, but so are most of the actors. This film was the biggest disappointment in 2002 for me. This is a message film & the message is: Turks committed genocide agaist Armenians & genocide is bad. Otherwise, the film did nothing to impart knowledge of the historical events that are supposed to be the basis for the film. The acting is universally wooden. The storyline was poorly written. A completely lifeless film. I'm surprised by all the 10's it has received. 3/10

  • A film within a film, IMO, Egoyan's best work. by 10

    I have seen other film by Atom Egoyan. I respect him as an artist.

    This film, Ararat, is lovingly made and very sensitive to a horrid subject. I found the acting very good, especially that by Christopher Plummer and David Alpay. I am shocked to see how limited the release was in the U.S. 6 screens, in the whole country? This film deserves far better treatment.

    I am also dismayed by the official IMDb blurb "Interrogated by a customs officer, a young man recounts how his life was changed during the making of a film about the Armenian genocide claims." Very good until the last word, "claims." Political correctness has no such place here. The only country in the world which continues to deny the Armenian Holocaust is Turkey.

  • Fantastic - and with more layers than you might imagine. by 10

    If you are expecting a historic epic about the Armenian genocide this isn't it.

    Instead it is a finely crafted, tightly directed look at the historical events of 1915 and how it has affected those that followed. Focusing on four generations, from an Armenian artist who survived the genocide in Van through to Raffi, a Canadian Armenian in his early twenties (played brilliantly by David Alpay in his professional debut) you need to know nothing about the history to get something from this film about the nature of humanity.

    The direction is Egoyan's usual unusual style - juxtaposing images one on top of the other to stunning effect, although his narrative style of jumping from thread to thread (and generation to generation) does take some getting used to.

    This film will be controversial because of the subject matter, but it isn't two hours of Turk bashing, despite what some of its more biased detractors would say. It does take several of the oft quoted explanations for the genocide and answer them head on, but there are no easy answers.

    If you want a film that will leave you stunned both thematically and stylistically then this really is it. I'm now arranging to see it for a second time!

  • Egoyan disappoints in Ararat by 1

    Although it was loudly promoted, I have not seen much positive critique of this film, other than those written by Armenians. When I watched it at the gala opening of TIFF, I wondered how such a dark film was chosen for opening night. There should be some politics involved. Ararat is a chauvinistic story filled with religious symbolism. Evil Turks (Muslim) versus innocent Armenian (Christian). American savior (missionary Dr. Ussher) in troubled lands..Difficult to watch..

    Everything seems out of context and hang in the air because a central theme in that time slice of Anatolian history, namely the struggle for more territory between Turks and Armenians is avoided, missed or obscured. As a matter of fact, Ottoman Empire was colapsing and not only Armenians but also Greeks, Slavs and Arabs were trying to get a bigger territory out of it. Anatolian tragedy is still a tragedy even if one of the parties would not be presented as pure innocents. Egoyan had a very powerful story to be told but he missed it badly. He said that he gave voice also the Turks, but there is only one Turk in the movie (Ali) who is depicted as a unrefined, cruel man.

    I was expecting better from Egoyan. A twisted story makes a bad film even at the hands of a good artist like Egoyan..

1Paul Sarossycinematographer
2Mychael Dannacomposer
3Atom Egoyandirector
4Susan Shiptoneditor
5Robert Lantosproducer
6Phillip Barkerproduction_designer