|Conjuring intrigue out of irony and sentiment out of cruelty, Family Viewing is a brilliant antithesis to family entertainment.|
|Brian D. Johnson, film critic Source|
Photo © Johnnie Eisen
David Hemblen and Gabrielle Rose in Family Viewing
After making money for a period in the mid-eighties as a freelance director of Canadian and American television programs, Atom decided to stretch his creative muscle by filming Family Viewing, a story that was all his own. After being shown at the Montreal Film Festival, the movie made quite an impression on eventual winner, Wim Wenders. At the awards ceremony, Wenders insisted that the prize money awarded him for Wings of Desire be turned over to the young Egoyan. Family Viewing was shown at a dozen film festivals overseas, winning awards in Switzerland and Sweden, and developing a reputation for its director.
A young man, about to finish high school, spends time faithfully attending to his Armenian grandmother, who resides in a run down nursing home. His father has relegated the old woman to this existence in order to help himself rid the memory of his former family life, with the boy's mother. Soliciting direction from a phone-sex worker, the father shoots videos of the sex acts he engages in with his current lover, who is unduly attracted to the son. The son discovers that his father is taping over old videos documenting his happy childhood, when mother, father, and grandmother were present. With the help of another regular nursing home visitor, the boy tries to create a new life for his grandmother and himself , away from the influence of his father.
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