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THE ADJUSTER

Canada, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Atom Egoyan

The films of Atom Egoyan (Family Viewing, Next of Kin, Speaking Parts, seen at previous MFFs) depict a claustrophobic universe of dys­functional families wrestling with neurotic sex­ual drives, individuals simulating their media-generated projections and stifling mid­dle-class lifestyles. The radical form of his films invariably relies on film and video imagery, and refuses to make clear-cut distinctions between dreams, fantasies and imaginings.

With its rich production values and sumptuous Cinemascope photography, this is Egoyan's most visually elegant film to date, and perhaps his most narratively straightforward. Its subject and theme — the control of images and the conspiracy of lifestyles based on these images — make it as typical and challenging as his previous works.

"The question in the movie," Egoyan told one interviewer, "is 'When do lives become pornographic?'" The main character, Hera, is an immigrant who works as a film censor. From the Kafka-esque office she steals the pieces of excised celluloid to satisfy her sister's skewed desires. Noah is an insurance 'adjuster' whose job involves, amongst other things, ingratiating himself to vulnerable clients. Then there's Bubba, who arrives with a film crew fone day at Hera's house, a 'model' house in the middle of a semi-built development. As is often the case in Egoyan's films, storylines and characters do not readily yield to literal, fixed 'explanations'. Subtle visual cues,textual patterns and elaborate flashbacks suggest a multiplicity of meanings, interpretations and moral positions.

• Paul Kalina

See also...

FAMILY VIEWING

One of the most talked about films of the year at international festivals, Family Viewing> is as extraordinary and surprising as it is original. Egyptian born, Canadian bred writer/director Atom ... More »

Man: A Passion Playground

While a woman orates on the excellence of the masculine gender, a field of males cheer and chant their appreciation in unison. ... More »

SPEAKING PARTS

... ... Writer and director Atom Egoyan's third and most recent film comes to us direct from its world premiere in the Director's Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. It explores territory that ... More »

NEXT OF KIN

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 ... More »

FELICIA'S JOURNEY

Middle-aged bachelor Joseph Ambrose Hilditch (Bob Hoskins) lives in a dark, cluttered house in Birmingham. He is the kind of man that neighbours would describe as a kindly soul who kept himself to ... More »

CHLOE

A steamy Hitchcockian thriller that delves into the realm of sexual jealousy. ... Eroticism as seen through the eyes of Atom Egoyan (Exotica) comes elegantly composed with caressing camera moves, and ... More »

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