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March 10, 2003 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-10

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 10, 2003


'Ararat' a fine blend of history and fiction

By John Laughlin
Daily Arts Writer
"Ararat" successfully weaves both
the historical and the fictional to cre-
ate a powerful and unique synthesis.
Director Atom Egoyan's
("The Sweet Here-
after") style is highly
complex as he is able to
display his ingenious ARE
ability to mix fact and
fiction in a non-linear At thel
tale that is both self- Th
reflexive and highly Mir
evocative. With the
theme of deception flowing through-
out, "Ararat" uses the Armenian geno-
cide of 1915-1918 as its point of
origin and becomes enriched by the

interlocking relationships that develop
over its course.
Opening in an artist's studio the
camera travels from a photo, to a
sketch, through brushes, to a painting,
to stop on an artist. From these close-


ups the world becomes
unfocused only to be
racked to an old man
standing in line for
Canadian customs at the
airport. Merely an
immigrant by appear-
ance, but actually
famous director Edward
Saroyan (Charles

ly wanted to take with him.
The film goes on to introduce oth-
ers: Rafi (David Alpay), his half sister
Celia (Marie-Josee Croze) and their
mother Ani (Arsin~e Khanjian). While
Rafi and Ani are both Armenians left
to survive a husband and father who
was a freedom fighter, Celia is a
French Canadian who holds Ani
responsible for her father's mysterious
death. If these relations are not heated
enough, Egoyan chooses to make Rafi
and Celia's relationship sexual - opt-
ing to make a marijuana greenhouse
their chamber for consummation.
Ani is a local art history professor
whose latest book on the Armenian
artist Arshile Gorky has inspired
Saroyan to expand his film to include
the famous figure. The film uses the

"Six Degrees of Separation" tactic to
relate all of its characters together
such that all are affected by any one's
actions and all must be exposed to the
Armenian genocide.
Egoyan distorts time to the point
where one might not be able to discern
the filmic present for several scenes.
This strategy allows him the freedom
to constantly shift the tense of
"Ararat." One is given the sense of
experiencing history while at the same
time being exposed to the recreation
of it as well.
If there is a symbol for deception it
would be Mount Ararat itself. The
mountain is placed as a backdrop for
one of the principle settings of the
film within the film, but is geographi-
cally incorrect. This particular decep-

Shampoo is better! It goes on first and cleans the hairl


Aznavour), he passes through a cus-
toms official named David (Christo-
pher Plummer, "A Beautiful Mind").
without the pomegranate he desperate-

tion echoes each intricate and particu-
lar deception that forms the web
encompassing the film itself.
When the cinema presents some-
thing of historic value - a story that

needs to be told - it is often termed
"unique." "Ararat" is not simply
unique, but a display of filmmaking
craft at its finest with raw emotion
at its core.


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How low
can reality
TV go?
By Douglas Wernert
Daily Arts Writer
We've all wanted to play
matchmaker at some point in
our lives. The FOX network,
with its long tradition of risk-
taking programming, has taken
this idea to the extreme. With
"Married by America," the net-
work that brought you "Who
Wants to Marry a Multimillion-
aire?" now gives the viewing
audience the chance to arrange
marriages between five people
who are either really desperate
or just really stupid.
Isn't it ironic that a show of
this nature would be hosted by a
guy named Sean Valentine?
He's the ringleader of this cir-
cus; which -features five people
hopelessly looking for love and
somehow decided that the best
way to find it was to go on
national television and marry
someone they've never seen
Even with a guarantee of a
car and a hundred grand (with
the incentive of a house if they
stay married), it doesn't seem
worth the humiliation. The five
are introduced, but they aren't
alone; FOX has found an addi-
tional 25 people also looking to
marry a complete stranger. Five
of them are chosen at random to
be suitors of one of the contest-
ants, and then the screening
process begins.
Three family members or
friends of the five main contest-
ants ask questions to the five
suitors of each bride or groom-
to-be. A few quick votes nar-
rows thelfield down to two, and
then America had the chance to
do some matchmaking by call-
ing in. Tonight, the "winners"
will marry.
Needless to say there are a
few problems. With so many
suitors, you never really find
out what any of them are like,
making for completely superfi-
cial voting. Secondly, their
speeches to the American public
are quite possibly the worst
thing anyone has ever heard on
television. Each suitor says
something like "Give me the
chance to go on a lifelong jour-
ney with Jennifer," yet the fact
remains that this person HAS
Once a pair is matched and
gets married, subsequent
episodes will show how the cou-
ples are adapting to married
life. This will probably feature
the normal daily banter of a
husband and wife, with such
questions as "So ... how are
you?" and "What was your
name again?"
"Married by America" is a
disgrace, both from the creative
and the production standpoint.
The show proves how low peo-
ple will go to get on TV Do the
world a favor and say "I don't."
While you're at it, see if it's not
too late to bring back "Love




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