SPEAKING PARTS (1989) [Feature]

Canada (MIFF 1989 )
Director: Atom Egoyan


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 will already be familiar to those who caught his striking Family Viewing at last year's festival and his equally impressive first feature Next Of Kin, finally making its Australian debut at this year's festival. Like its predecessor, Speaking Parts elaborately and intricately intertwines imaginings and fantasies, video images and filmic images to constitute what could be called a new-found reality. It confirms Egoyan as one of the major new talents of recent years. Lance is an aspiring actor who also cleans hotel rooms and services sexual needs of female clients. Discovering a script in a room, he auditions for the part of Clarence, the scriptwriter's dead brother to whom Lance bears a striking resemblance. Meanwhile, a laundry worker, Lisa, whom Lance earlier spurned, watches videos of Lance, and attaches herself to the owner of a video store who films an orgy and a wedding. At the wedding Lisa embarrasses the bride by asking her about relationships that go sour. In time, the roles in the script get changed, and a mysterious suicide in the hotel causes further confusion amongst the myriad characters and identities.

'I have worked in a hotel for five years. I have worked in film for ten. Both of these professions involve the creation of illusion. In one, the territory of illusion is a room. In the other, it is a screen. People move in and out of rooms. Actors move in and out of screens. Speaking Parts explores a terrain which moves between rooms and screens; a terrain of memory and desire. Somewhere in the passage from a room to a screen, a person is transformed into an image. I am fascinated by this crucial moment, and by the contradictions involved in making images of people.' -Atom Egoyan

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