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Netherlands released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), Dutch ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Box Set, Interactive Menu, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: A photographer and his wife take photographs of Armenian churches for use in a calendar. Their driver, a local resident, expounds on the history of the churches while the wife translates. The photographer becomes jealous of his wife's bonding with the driver. In a series of flash-forwards, the photographer stages identical dinners with several women, who pretend to talk on the phone while he writes. His wife, now estranged from him, leaves repeated messages on his answering machine, asking why he never contacts her. Yet another thought-provoking look into strange, intertwined relationships from the always enigmatic Egoyan. ...Calendar
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Top Customer Reviews
As cinema is all down to taste I will not give a critique,I first saw it many years ago,suffice it to say it is slow - but utterly mesmerising.
I ordered it on DVD and THEN, OF COURSE FOUND THE VID!
Its a charming film and prompted me to go to Armenia which I loved!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
All this might make the film sound extremely heavy and pretentious, but the director succeeds at making his points without being overly oblique or esoteric. In fact, what really deserves praise in this film is the sly humour that is sometimes missing in Egoyan's other films. While the film never downplays the dramatic issues at hand, scenes in Calendar almost always have some rich undercurrent of very subtle and sophisticated humour that rewards repeated viewings and exploration. It is arguably the director's most directly humane film.
With its stunning photography, suggestive, dream-like editing and impeccable acting, Calendar is an intricate Chinese-box narrative that merits analysis, but thankfully, does not demand it. Egoyan has crafted an elegant, poignant film that has both immediacy and long-lasting dramatic reverberations.
If it is true that any auteur has a motivating idea behind much of his/her career, than Egoyan's center is voyeurism. Egoyan lays his cards on the table in this lesser-known film, directly examining the way voyeurism affects both the perceiver and the perceived. As if to further reinforce the theme, he places himself in the role of the photographer. The land of his ancestry, its beautiful locales and churches, and his wife seduce him with imagery, rather than with contact. It is a willful choice on the part of Egoyan and his character, for he remains unable to truly connect with any of it.
As with other Egoyan films I have seen ("Speaking Parts", "Exotica", and "The Sweet Hereafter"), much of "Calendar" is deliberately paced, and beautifully shot. His use of soundtrack music is stirring and emotional as usual, yet remains subtle enough to avoid being invasive to the viewer. For one reason or another, this film resonated with me more than any of his other films.
This film is nominally about a photographer (Atom Egoyan) and his wife (Egoyan's real-life spouse, Arsinee Khanjian), who travel to Armenia to photograph churches for a calendar, the wife acting as translator to the Armenian guide (Ashot Adamian). During this process, the wife and guide fall in love, right under the uncomprehending photographer's nose. Back home after she has remained in Armenia, the photographer watches his film of the trip to try and discover when the two fell in love. This description is much too linear for an Egoyan film. It will reveal itself to you in layers, as do all his works. You will constantly be feeling little ah-ha! moments of understanding, which is the element I really enjoy about this director. He is like Hal Hartley with a point.
One reviewer feels that the film is too autobiographical, but in his commentary Egoyan laughs about this assumption being made by his friends and others when it previewed, their assumption reinforced by Arsinee's absence -- but it turns out she was at home, unable to travel due to pregnancy -- in what was a happy time for the couple. I think that speaks to how capable this director is at pulling viewers into his fiction.
Egoyan reveals that he had not intended to play the photographer, but for technical reasons had to. He's not an actor and knows it, but I think he did a fine job. The story is intimate, but issues of detachment and isolation resound here, as in his other works.
This film may be too quiet for non-indie film lovers, but for Egoyan fans or those who are fascinated by people, it will be a treasure that will stay with you a while.
DVD extras include the commentary track, Egoyan's biography/filmography, stills, and two interviews with the director -- one 7-1/2 minutes, the other 52 minutes. The film can be heard in English (with English subtitles for the Armenian), and subtitles are available in English or French.