Canada/France, 2008, 100 minutes
Sat, Apr 25 / 6:15 / Kabuki / ADOR25K
Mon, Apr 27 / 6:30 / PFA / ADOR27P
An ancient news story takes on new viral life after a teenager transforms a simple translation exercise into a riveting narrative about his own dead parents, imagining his father as a terrorist who places a bomb in his pregnant girlfriend’s handbag. When their teacher, Sabine (Arsinée Khanjian), has Simon (Devon Bostick) read the story in class, his classmates receive it as truth and turn it into an Internet sensation, the tale growing ever larger over a series of chats, eventually pulling in participants of the actual incident. But Sabine is not through, further roiling the waters by provocatively confronting Tom (Scott Speedman), Simon’s unhappy uncle. For his 12th feature, Atom Egoyan once more explores the way the past impacts the present and how grief manifests and sometimes curdles over the years. The drama marks a return to the elliptical style he pioneered with such films as Speaking Parts (1989) and The Adjuster (1991), the fractured narrative turning the story into a kind of mystery, inviting the viewer to tease out not just the truth of Simon’s family but also the murky motives behind Sabine’s actions. To the shifting points of view and fascination with technology that have long characterized his work, Egoyan adds the specter of terrorism, using a 20-year-old news story as a prism for our 21st century, post-9/11 fears. The drama is cerebral, but hardly bloodless. Instead, as Simon, Tom and Sabine struggle with the past, what emerges is a poignant and haunting drama of family fissure and reconciliation.