|The fullest résumé of Egoyan's therapeutic mechanisms.|
|Jonathan Romney, film critic Source|
In 1991, Atom Egoyan's The Adjuster was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Moscow Film Festival. The prize featured a one million ruble award for the winner to use to produce a film, as long as it was made in the Soviet Union. This led Atom to pursue his dream of making a film in Armenia, the home of his ancesters. With the breakup of the Soviet Union however, the value of the prize dropped drastically, and now as an independent state, Armenia was no longer an eligible location. By the following year, the project seemed doomed. Then, at the Rotterdam Film Festival, Egoyan came into contact with a German television producer who took an interest in financing the film. With the backing of ZDF, a German public television network which would air the completed film, Atom was able to shoot Calendar. Due to time and budgetary constraints, corners were cut at every turn. The script was mainly improvised, and all the scenes in Armenia were shot over a period of ten days, often in the company of soldiers and without the benefit of some basic modern amenities. A large portion of the Armenian location shooting was done on 8mm home video equipment. The rest of the movie was completed in Toronto, with Egoyan himself portraying the lead character. Although Calendar did not receive wide distribution, it was well-received by critics, praised for its emotional accessability compared to Atom's other work.
Over successive months, a photographer entertains different foreign women in his apartment. In a ritualistic manner they each make a phone call during the encounter, speaking in their native tongue. On the wall near the phone is a calendar featuring photographs of Armenian churches. In flashbacks, the photographer and his wife are shown during the trip when each of the pictures were taken, touring the countryside with a native guide. Over the course of their journey the guide relates the history of each site, which the wife translates for the benefit of the photographer. The photographer's relative disinterest in the context of his pictures puts a strain on his relationship with his wife. It is revealed that the wife, in fact, remained in Armenia, leaving the photographer to consider why his wife left him, and finding, too long after the fact, the courage to attempt to communicate with her.
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