Synopsis by Mark Deming
Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan explores his Armenian heritage, and how the country's tragic history has touched several generations of the nation's expatriates, in this ambitious drama. Edward Saroyan (Charles Aznavour), a veteran filmmaker of Armenian descent, is in Toronto shooting a film about the Siege of Van, in which invading Ottoman armies forced the evacuation of Armenian communities in 1915, leading to the genocide of over a million Armenian people at the hands of Turkish troops. Twenty-one-year-old Raffi (David Alpay) has been sent to Turkey to shoot background footage for the film; Raffi's mother Ani (Arsinee Khanjian), an author and historian, is also involved in the project as a consultant. Lately Raffi and Ani have been at odds; Raffi has been dating Celia (Marie-Josee Croze), Ani's stepdaughter, who is convinced that Ani is somehow responsible for the death of her father. Ani's first husband, who was Raffi's father, is also dead, after taking part in an assassination attempt on a Turkish political leader. As Raffi attempts to re-enter Canada with cans of exposed film, he's detained by David (Christopher Plummer), a suspicious customs official who has his own tenuous link to Saroyan's film -- David is struggling to come to terms with the gay lifestyle of his son Philip (Brent Carver), whose lover Ali (Elias Koteas) is playing the villain in the picture. Ararat also features Eric Bogosian and Bruce Greenwood.
film-director, Armenia, atrocity, ethnic-cleansing, genocide, Turkish [nationality]