(TORONTO, ON) Though his two-plus decades in filmmaking and dozen feature films have garnered critical acclaim, awards at the illustrious Cannes and Toronto Film Festivals, something called a Dan David Prize for “Creative Rendering of the Past” and brought him one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon (giving him a Bacon Factor of 1), Canadian-Armenian auteur Atom Egoyan is still rubbing shoulders with eight year old girls and awkward adolescent cousins come the holidays. Egoyan, whose multi-layered network narratives have garnered praise for a consistent thematic complexity which carries a chilly emotional distance reflective of the long Canadian winters, is nonetheless reported to be found crammed around a card table with the junior members of his extended family during holiday dinners, claim sources within the Egoyan clan.
“It’s a bit, annoying, sure,” Egoyan (who recently directed an opera) told the press, while pulling a slatted board from under his parents’ bed in order to extend the dining room table to accommodate the fourteen adults who perennially assume positions of prestige around the pedestal dining service found in the Egoyan parlour in Victoria, British Columbia.
“But at the same time,” he continued “I guess it’s nice to immerse myself in the culture of this younger generation. They have so many fresh, interesting ideas, and they way they communicate with each other is always intriguing. There’s also an element of Dionysian jocularity which enlivens my perspective as an artist. Like last Thanksgiving, for example, I bore witness to no fewer than four LOLs and something called a ROFL, and was subsequently led in a chorus about this iconoclast of children’s folk mythology who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Fascinating.”
But while the Oscar-nominated filmmaker may claim to enjoy dining with mismatched silver and plasticware amongst this gaggle of pre- and post-pubescents, the younger members of the Egoyan family hold reservations about dining with their uncle/cousin-in-law.
“He’s a bit weird. He’s really, really big and has kinda a lizard face. ” Katarine Egoyan, 9, claimed before being designated ‘goose’ and running around in circles for forty-five seconds and collapsing on the laminate floor of the half-finished Egoyan family basement in a fit of childish hysterics.
“Yeah, he’s totally out there,” agreed Jason Medzekian, 16, Egoyan’s second-cousin. “He’s always jamming his Genie awards down our throats and it’s like, dude, who cares, right? I asked him if he saw the The Dark Knight and he just started on me about something about how deep focus can establish concrete emotional bonds between viewer and on-screen subject or some shit. Then he tried to bum a smoke off me.”
The backlash against Egoyan, whose recent dalliances in the domain of installation art have been met with the typically unfounded critical hurrah reserved for one of the four recognizeable names in Canadian filmmaking, resound on the upper floors of the Egoyan’s raised-ranch style home.
“Oh of course we love Atom,” Shushan Egoyan, mother, reassured reporters within earshot of her son. “We all wish him well and maybe if he keeps working hard at it he’ll finally make something of his curious fascination with talking pictures. But for years now, it’s all he’s been able to talk about. Emotional destitution this and Mount Ararat that. It doesn’t exactly make for rosuing dinner conversation. Last year we made the mistake of inviting him up for coffee and squares and he rattled on for fifteen minutes about how the Internet has the possibility to create a poly-what was it?-polyphonous, I think, space of democratic communication between peers while his father and uncle were trying to watch the Canucks game. Maybe if he got a nice job in sales like his sister, it’d be different. But for now we’ll keep him downstairs. He likes it down there anyways.”
“He’s a good kid,” Joseph Egoyan assured reporters while tousling his 48 year-old son’s hair. “And I’m sure if he keeps working at it, he might even manage to make something of these silly little art movies of his someday. There’s no shortage of pluck in the Egoyan bloodstream, I’ll tell you that for free.”