Rated NR

I guess this would be something of a glorious failure. Loaded with excellent scenes, and neatly woven together by Atom Egoyan, one of the finest living directors in the world, Ararat is a film-within-a-film. A family of Armenian expatriates living in Canada wrestle with an unexplained death that in some ways mirrors the Armenian genocide of 1915-1918. Meanwhile, a film is being made of just that genocide, and an odd assortment of characters—played with aplomb by Arsinee Khanjian, Elias Koteas, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian and Christopher Plummer, and with a bit less aplomb by David Alpay and Brent Carver—are drawn into the scene. There are at least four distinct stories woven together, and I think that may have been one too many, but so much of this film works so well that it’s still worth seeing. Plus, it gets better as it goes along, and, unlike the Clinton presidency, much of the muddled middle section has a payoff in the end.

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