A photographer and his wife take photographs of Armenian churches for use in a calendar. Their driver, a local resident, expounds on the history of the churches while the wife translates. ...
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A photographer and his wife take photographs of Armenian churches for use in a calendar. Their driver, a local resident, expounds on the history of the churches while the wife translates. The photographer becomes jealous of his wife's bonding with the driver. In a series of flash-forwards, the photographer stages identical dinners with several women, who pretend to talk on the phone while he writes. His wife, now estranged from him, leaves repeated messages on his answering machine, asking why he never contacts her. Yet another thought-provoking look into strange, intertwined relationships from the always enigmatic Egoyan.
In Calender, Egoyan succeeds in capturing how recollection and enlightenment meet in order to have an understanding of personal memory and collective consciousness, it goes on to show our inherent inclination towards struggling against the erasure of personal and cultural traumatic human history. The collapse of bonds with Armenia, this national umbilical cord can be seen as a reproduction of essential element of trauma of the Armenian people which is their violent separation from their homeland and their families at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Language is a very important element of this film, Egoyan cleverly refuses subordinating other languages to the global hegemony of English by not using subtitles and leaving other languages untranslated, doing so he is also able to preserve the otherness of languages and cultures and give them a voice when they might otherwise be silenced. More importantly, Egoyan having lived as an immigrant in Canada, reproduces in the viewer who does not understand them a feeling of alienation and disorientation. This sensation is a crucial part of the Egoyan aesthetic, it allows him to create a crisis of meaningfulness from which new meanings, and new ethical orientations can be generated. The film's otherness is also in its accented nature, his film's language is not that of a native speaker, it comes from certain looks, styles and music as well as themes of absence, loss, love, abandonment, alienation, obsession and seduction. Egoyan has said that" one of the advantages of working with the Armenian language or Armenian culture is that it is for most people, not something that can easily be identified, and that allows me the luxury of being able to treat it almost on a metaphorical level".
For the photographer in Calender whatever he does is bound with economy, he is constantly insisting on the presence of capital in numerous occasions. To Him the pagan temple looks like a bank, he thinks the guide is talking about the history of the place just to ask for more money in the end, he even asks one of the escorts how much her children cost her and tells the other who is an exotic dancer about his experience of putting money in dancer's dresses.
Throughout the film there are repeating scenes of the photographer having dinner with different women, the narrative of these scenes always remains the same. For Egoyan repetition does not function monolithically as a mechanical and numbing recuperation of sameness. Rather, repetition may depict a sense of poetic indifference that discloses in an accumulative way, to indicate the least apparent yet most determining drives of the subject.
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