Director: Atom Egoyan
Canadian 'wunderkind' Atom Egoyan, a guest at last year's MFF with his breakthrough film Family Viewing, made his first feature in 1984. Invited for last year's festival but lost en-route from Cannes, Next of Kin is more accessible and humorous than Family Viewing, yet reveals what have already become Egoyan's trademarks, as further developed in his third feature, Speaking Ports, also screening in this year's programme. Like Family Viewing, the centra! character in Next of Kin is a young man. Catatonicatly unhappy with his family life, Peter undergoes 'video therapy' with his parents. One day, while at the hospital studying the video records of his sessions, he comes across the tapes on an Armenian family who feel guilty about surrendering their own son, while still an infant, to a foster home. Seizing the opportunity, Peter decides to trade in his own family for another.
The results of this intriguing and original premise are comic, heartwarming and tragic, as Peter finds a more authentic home than the one he shares with his legal parents, and is introduced to a culture that, though displaced, stilt has a valuable living heritage, far beyond anything his bland WASP background can offer.