Calendar (1993) Film Response

Atom Egoyan’s post-colonial film Calendar, mocks the stylistic elements of an documentary film with it’s use of calendar dates, videotapes, and photographs. However, after the first twenty minutes of viewing these three devices are used to skeletally bridge a plot line between replayed videotapes of Atom and his wife to his imagined excursions between him and beautiful women he brings home on dates.

In the beginning of the movie Atom casts himself as a Canadian photographer with his wife (Arsinee Khanijan) and the driver/camera man (Ashot Adamian) to photo shoot twelve Armenian churches for calendar stock photos. All three persons are of Armenian descent however both men can only speak one language: the photographer speaks English and the driver is only fluent in Armenian. The lack of understanding between both characters leads to his wife becoming a third party translator for the two of them. As the plot line unfolds the photographer is characterized as caring more for the technical demands of the assignment than the the architectural subjects he is photographing, which causes him to heavily rely on the driver to answer for basic knowledge of each building.

The scenes between the three people is actually past video footage of the now single photographer obsessively replaying and re-examining his wife’s unnoticed infatuation towards the driver. Throughout these scenes there are intermissions in which he goes out on random but, seemingly repetitive dates with different women, with each date ending in the same way as the original. These rendezvouses always end up with each woman, excusing herself from the dinner table to make a phone call in another language in which the photographer is unaware of. As the intermissions switch back to the clips of videotapes between the three of them the footage of this estranged love triangle becomes much more lifeless in color composition.

The re-examination of each videotape is suggestive of the fact that the photographer is not playing this footage to find the exact point when his wife fell in love with the driver but, is him actually trying to remember what has happened to him in the past. The fading color composition of the videos is a technical technique Egoyan used to compliment the lucidity of the faltering memories, and the dinner dates he takes women out on are symbolic of his wife leaving him for the driver. Just like the women leaving the dinner table to make phone calls in a different language, Egoyan is shown as leaving his Armenian roots behind by living in Canada. The movie is a successful display not only of a man’s lost relationship with his wife but, also of a man becoming displaced to his own heritage.

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Works Cited:
Harcourt, Peter. “Off-campus Access to E-Journals & Reference Databases.” CUNY Office of Library Services Homepage. University of California Press. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://www.jstor.org.central.ezproxy.cuny.edu:2048/stable/pdfplus/1213290.pdf>.

Holden, Stephen. “Movie Review – Calendar – Review/Film Festival; Technology, a Tripod, A Romantic Triangle – NYTimes.com.” Movie Reviews, Showtimes and Trailers – Movies – New York Times – The New York Times. 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 19 Apr. 2011. <http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE6D6143AF935A25753C1A965958260>.

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About Ashley Bryant

There is a comb under my couch.
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