'Look But Don't Touch': Synthesizing Strategies of Denial in the Later Films of Atom Egoyan, 1994-2002

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Title: 'Look But Don't Touch': Synthesizing Strategies of Denial in the Later Films of Atom Egoyan, 1994-2002
Author: Santana, Brian Allen
Advisors: Dr. Marsha Orgeron, Committee Member
Dr. Joseph A. Gomez, Committee Chair
Dr. Maria Pramaggiore, Committee Member
Abstract: Since 1994, Atom Egoyan has become the most internationally recognizable figure in contemporary Canadian Cinema. Prior to Exotica (1994), his first major release in America, Egoyan had slowly risen to prominence in Canada through ultra-low budget independent films partially subsidized through governmental arts funds. Films like Next of Kin (1984), Family Viewing (1987), Speaking Parts (1989), The Adjuster (1991), and Calendar (1993) attracted a devoted art house following for Egoyan in his own country but never really connected with an international audience on a large scale. It was the 1994 release of Exotica, a film distributed by Miramax, which finally brought Egoyan a level of commercial success and recognition from American film audiences, but some critics, almost immediately noted that Exotica marked a pronounced change in his artistic direction. Those critics who propose a sharp distinction between Egoyan's pre and post-Exotica work are correct in identifying the film as a transition point, but often for the wrong reasons. Egoyan's career (thus far) can rightly be divided into the post and pre-Exotica work, but this thesis offers a new critical framework from which to consider Egoyan's later films. This framework recognizes that the pre and post Exotica films are about attempts to come to terms with something larger than an individual's immediate experience and that this progression is directly correlated with the exploration of the psychological process of denial.
Date: 2006-06-30
Degree: MA
Discipline: English
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/28

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