Atom Egoyan

"A stylish and highly assured filmmaker, Egoyan has produced work that combines self-reflexive meditations on the nature of film and video, examinations of psycho-sexual behaviour and a black, ironic sense of humor." - The Hollywood.com Guide to Film Directors, 2004

Atom Egoyan

Director / Screenwriter / Producer / Editor
(1960- ) Born July 19, Cairo, Egypt

Key Production Countries: Canada, France
Key Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Ensemble Film, Psychological Thriller, Family Drama, Marriage Drama
Key Collaborators: Arsinee Khanjian (Leading Actress), Mychael Danna (Composer), Paul Sarossy (Cinematographer), Susan Shipton (Editor), David Hemblen (Leading Character Actor), Gabrielle Rose (Leading Character Actress), Linda Del Rosario (Production Designer), Elias Koteas (Character Actor), Bruce Greenwood (Leading Character Actor), Phillip Barker (Production Designer), Carmelia Frieberg (Producer), Bruce McDonald (Editor)

"Egoyan is a remarkable and admirable figure. Of Armenian descent, he was born in Egypt, where he lived for a few years as a child before moving to western Canada. To be a Canadian filmmaker is, in the words of a movie on which Egoyan assisted, to exist “in the shadow of Hollywood.” And there is no country of which the ordinary American is more dismissive than Canada. But Egoyan has not simply made a fruitful career there, he has impressed the outside world—The Sweet Hereafter, his best-known film but not necessarily his best, won an Oscar nomination for directing (it succumbed to James Cameron and Titanic). Yet he does not seem to have been swayed away from his own course, which is quiet, introspective, rather wistful, and very fond of that delicate area where the imagination becomes the spirit." - David Thomson (The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, 2010)
"Fixated on quasi-therapeutic rituals of sorrow and processes of denial, the films of Atom Egoyan observe people who are forever held at one remove from themselves, and those closest to them, by the recorded image… He debuted with the hour-long Next of Kin (1984)… The film established what would become two major Egoyan themes: family dysfunction mediated and exacerbated by images, and willed self-delusion as a mechanism to defer grief." - Jessica Winter (The Rough Guide to Film, 2007)
"Atom Egoyan hinges his metatextual cinema on themes of emotional and psychological displacement. While biographical readings are often suspect, it is easy - given how candid Egoyan is with personal details in interview - to see how his own background of displacement influences his films… It could be argued that he straddles two traditions of Canadian cinema. His success can be traced back to the early 1980s and the emergence of a group of Canadian filmmakers dubbed the 'Ontario New Wave' by Carole Desbarats… However, as Geoff Pevere has commented, Egoyan also sits comfortably with an older tradition of Canadian cinema in which characters are distinguished by their profound inertia and paralysing immersion in structures bigger than themselves." - Kevin Harley (Contemporary North American Film Directors, 2002)
"Atom Egoyan is one of Canada’s most acclaimed and influential filmmakers. Cerebral and unconventional, his films are often told in a non-linear style. They typically tackle such themes as personal and communal displacement, the alienating effects of media and technology, and the lingering effects of trauma and abuse… Egoyan’s films since Ararat have not achieved the same degree of critical success and awards recognition as his earlier work, and some of them have been outright maligned." - The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2018
"A multi-talented, idiosyncratic filmmaker, he often combines dark cynicism and irony with political and sexual themes, resulting in explosive films such as Speaking Parts (1989), Exotica (1994), and The Sweet Hereafter (1997)." - The Film Encyclopedia, 2012
"From his debut feature, Next of Kin (1984), he has been concerned with the power of imagery in contemporary society, and the manner in which individuals have become isolated and alienated in an increasingly voyeuristic and technology-fixated world… The talent displayed in his first features got him assignments directing episodes of the new Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia, 1995
TSPDT Guide
Highly Recommended
Exotica (1994) , The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
Recommended
Next of Kin (1984) , Family Viewing (1987), The Adjuster (1991), Calendar (1993) , Felicia's Journey (1999)
Worth a Look
Ararat (2002)
Approach with Caution
Speaking Parts (1989), Chloe (2009), Devil's Knot (2013)
Recommended by Jonathan Rosenbaum
Citadel (2006)
Acclaimed Films / IMDB Filmography
1,000 Greatest Films Jonathan Rosenbaum
Atom Egoyan / Favourite Films
See Atom Egoyan's 53 favourite films at La Cinetek.
    Exotica
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