|As soon as a character in the film experiences an image or emotion over which he thinks he has some control, he loses something.|
|Ron Burnett, film critic Source|
Photo © Johnnie Eisen
Michael McManus and David Hemblen in Speaking Parts
Video technology, death, sex, and the process of moviemaking all figure prominently in Atom Egoyan's third feature film. A great deal of the action in Speaking Parts takes place in a hotel, reflecting some of the director's own experience. He worked as part of the housekeeping staff of a hotel in Victoria during his last few teenage years. Atom developed the female lead character with Arsinée Khanjian in mind for the role, but his partner pursued the part of Lisa, the chambermaid. Convinced by Arsinée's audition, the casting was reversed. The film premiered as part of the Director's Fortnight program at the Cannes Film Festival. Egoyan's first encounter at that event was a memorable one: the third reel of the film caught fire during its screening, causing a long delay. The reviews remained largely favorable, despite the unplanned interruption.
A swank hotel serves as a production office for a movie. Staying there as a guest is the novice screenwriter, a woman in mourning over the loss of her brother. He died after giving up a lung to save the woman's life, which is the subject matter of her script. A worker at the hotel who moonlights as a bit actor, beds her in the hope of gaining the role of the brother in the production. One of his co-workers is a woman who is completely obsessed with him. She repeatedly views videos of the movies in which he has appeared. The ever-powerful producer of the movie oversees the progress of his production via remote video hookup. He dictates absurd changes to the script according to his whims, callously destroying the therapeutic desires of the sreenwriter.
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