Film Response #4: Loss and Memory themes in Calendar

In our last class before break, we watched the 1993 film, Calendar, by Canadian photographer Atom Egoyan. I actually liked this film although it was strange how Egoyan had almost after every flashback, a variety of scenes of his dates asking to use the phone and leave messages. But, Calendar is bigger than just these scenes. It deals with the subjects of loss and memory. Both of these motifs related to his wife in the film. In Passing Time in Intercultural Cinema: The Exilic Experience of the Time-Passer in Atom Egoyan’s Calendar (1993), Tollof Nelson writes, “…the photographer can never simply return or rewind the singular alterations of his experience. His entire life and memory is organized by the impossible attempt to align experience with memory, identity with history: he is stuck irrevocably in the temporality of the re-play, a replay that is never identical to the original experience, but must be re-lived and acted as the blurred life of the fast-forward or the rewind functions of his video machine.” This is significant to the dates that he had over and over again. Egoyan’s character needs to relive them because he cannot deal with just the simple memory. He chooses to go through these dates over and over again so he can relive certain memories.

Also, we see that he’s losing his wife during the film, which is what Nelson also writes. He says that his wife is actually losing “her love for him” because of his “apathetic attitude towards his own cultural heritage” and so on and so forth. She doesn’t understand why he acts the way he does and she is desperately trying to help him understand the culture, but she feels so disconnected to him, which is why he’s losing his wife. Also, when the camera shows the pictures of the months of the calendar, we are shown the memory of Egoyan’s character of what happened when he took that picture. These constant memories give us a better understanding of his character and somehow told us of what his life was like.

Citation of article:

Passing Time in Intercultural Cinema: The Exilic Experience of the Time-Passer in Atom Egoyan’s Calendar (1993)

Tollof Nelson

SubStance

Vol. 34, No. 1, Issue 106 (2005), pp. 129-144

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press

Permalink: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3685623

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