Calendar (1993) – Film Response# 4

Calendar (1993) is a film by Atom Egoyan. The film is about the process of a photographer shooting pictures in Armenia for the use in a calendar and his wife falls in love with the Armenian driver on that trip. What makes this film interesting is that the narrative is different from the conventional one. It starts with the “present” and as months go by, the photographer recalls his memories of having a trip in Armenia with his wife and shooting pictures. It is said that this film experiences space, time and memory. However, there are more about this film that the photographer has to deal with his personal emotions, which are the bitterness and the joy caused by losing his wife and by recalling those beautiful memories with his wife in the past. He also has to get used to the new identity (a single man) that he has since he loses his wife by having dates.

In the film, every time when a new month starts, a new cycle begins. In each month/cycle, the photographer dates a woman who shares common features with the photographer’s ex-wife and all of the women he dates always excuse themselves for making a phone call. Then while they are away, the photographer starts recalling his memories of the past. Finally, another month/cycle starts. In each month/cycle, the photographer has learnt to how to walk out from the shadow of losing his wife as audiences can see that he is gradually becoming more and more talkative with his dates. To become more talkative can also means that he is getting more and more used to his new identity- a single man. Besides, one thing about “time” and “emotion” is that when the photographer recalls his memories of his past, it is the only moment that the past/sweetness and the present/bitterness overlap with each other.

Calendar is considered as a Third-world film because the director, Atom Egoyan, is a Canadian. Besides, Canada was colonized by Britain and France in the past and after the colonization, Canadian film industry has to find its own new identity since it had been affected by the “insecurities” in the time of British and French colonization and finding or getting used to a new identity is also what the protagonist in Calendar has to face. “Insecurities” here means “…the personal uncertainties of people who are striving to find a place of rest within a culture not their own…” (Harcourt, 4) Moreover, Atom Egoyan didn’t adopted the use of conventional narrative which is to tell a story in time order and is usually adopted by First cinema, to this film because Third Cinema is usually recognized as “[an] anti-imperialist struggle” (Shohat and Stam, 28) Conclusively, because of the identity crisis of the protagonist fits the history of Canada and its film industry and the narrative order is different from the First Cinema’s, Calendar is a Third-world film.

Work Cited

Harcourt, Peter. “Imaginary Images: An Examination of Atom Egoyan’s Films.” Film Quarterly 48.3 (1995): 2-14. JSTOR. Web. 22 April 2011.

Shohat, Ella and Robert Stam. “From Eurocentrism to Polycentrism.” Unthinking Eurocentrism (New York: Routledge, 1994): 25-37. Print.

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