(Hyetert Special) Veteran Canadian Armenian auteur director Atom Egoyan’s Guest of Honour (2019) opened the Canada Now 2020 Film Festival in New York on Friday, February 14th to a packed audience at the Independent Film Center. The screening followed a Q & A with Egoyan and actress Arsinée Khanjian who plays a skillful Armenian restaurateur in the movie. Superbly acted by its main protagonist David Thewlis (Jim), the multi layered Guest of Honour deals with secrets, truth and denial while problematizing innocence, crime, and punishment -self-inflicted and otherwise. In many ways Guest of Honor is a classical Egoyan movie with its confessorial and complex story arch, further complicated by the use of videos as nested framing devices, an Egoyan signature. A treasure especially for film connoisseurs who can connect all other bunny “eggs” hidden in the director’s corpus since Next of Kin, Guest of Honour is acquired by Kino Lerber for its US release and will be in theaters soon.
For more info see https://www.canadanowfestival.com/films/
“DIRECTOR: ATOM EGOYAN
2019 | 105 MINUTES | ENGLISH, ARMENIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Internationally acclaimed veteran auteur filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Adoration, Remember) returns with a complex, absorbing family drama about a father-daughter relationship wrestling with past traumas that inform present circumstances. Jim Davis (played brilliantly by David Thewlis) is a health inspector in Hamilton, making sure restaurants are up to health code standards. His daughter, Veronica (Laysla De Oliveira), a high school music teacher, has been recently incarcerated for inappropriate behaviour with students. Jim is convinced that she innocent, but his efforts to reduce her sentence are blocked by Veronica’s mysterious refusal to cooperate. In the midst of trying to understand his daughter’s attitude, Jim channels his energy and frustration into his work, with some unsettling results and, as always in Egoyan, some startling revelations.
Official Selection: Venice, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Busan.
“In a completely absorbing human drama. … While these are not mysteries in the conventional sense, it does make sense that Egoyan is a great admirer of Alfred Hitchcock, who had a similar fascination with hidden things being revealed. … David Thewlis and Laysla De Oliveira are both brilliant in their extremely challenging, carefully nuanced roles.” Monica Reid, Far Out Magazine
“Guest of Honour is ultimately a film that is both about the subjective nature of memory and the ease with which people can slip into taking advantage of the authority they have over others less powerful than themselves. … the result is a complex, at times melancholic study of a father-daughter relationship gone awry over with the passing of time.” Stephanie Watts, The Playlist”