“Ararat” successfully weaves both the historical and the fictional to create a powerful and unique synthesis. Director Atom Egoyan’s (“The Sweet Hereafter”) style is highly complex as he is able to display his ingenious ability to mix fact and fiction in a non-linear tale that is both self-reflexive and highly evocative. With the theme of deception flowing throughout, “Ararat” uses the Armenian genocide 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 appearance, but actually famous director Edward Saroyan (Charles Aznavour), he passes through a customs official named David (Christopher Plummer, “A Beautiful Mind”) without the pomegranate he desperately wanted to take with him.
The film goes on to introduce others: Rafi (David Alpay), his half sister Celia (Marie-Jos