email@example.com | Atlanta, GA | 10/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Family viewing tells the story of a not so typical family going through the motions of their perverse and depressing lives. To sum it up. Technology will destroy all. A teenage boy, Van, lives in an apartment with his father, Stan, and stepmother, Sandra. At some point Van carried on an affair, or so it seems, with Sandra. Meanwhile Van and Stan have a very strained relationship, although they do not talk about it. It becomes worse when Van finds out Stan is recording "private" videos with Sandra, using old VHS tapes of Van as a child. Addtionally Van wants Stan to visit his mother, who has been abandoned in a nusring home. Enter into the picture a woman named Aline, who makes her money soliciting phone sex and things really get interesting. It all ties together in the end, with some surprising plot developments, into a twisted little story.All of the characters in this film are strangely sedated. This is a very effect plot device though, because it really helps isolate the characters from one another. It also leaves the impression that these peoples' lives are so empty and unfulfilling they have become numb to it all. Very well shot, and poignantly directed, this is a good film. Atom Egoyan is a director new to me. I have heard nothing but positive things about his films so I will certainly be checking out others he has made. Unfortunately I have not seen Next of Kin which is also featured on this DVD. Sorry, but Family Viewing is worth checking out."
Next of Kin
Mark Twain | 12/20/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Atom Egoyan is quickly becoming one of my favorite directors. While many people consider his films "too artsy," I find them brilliant pieces of filmmaking. I have yet to view FAMILY VIEWING, but I will soon. NEXT OF KIN, however, was an incredibly impressive first feature, especially considering Egoyan was only 23 when he made it. I mean, what a fascinating plot. I commend Egoyan for having his first film deal with an Armenian family, he being of Armenian descent (as am I). The film follows a troubled family, who decide to go through video therapy to solve their problems. Peter, their 23 year old son, comes across a tape of another troubled family, Armenians (surprisingly, the film never mentions that the family is of Armenian descent, but they are) who had years before given their only son up for adoption upon moving to Canada. Peter pretends to be their long-lost son, suitably named Bedros, which is the Armenian equivilant of Peter. The family accepts him with open arms and treat him like he was never gone. Peter (Bedros) tries to fix the troubled relationship between his "father" George and "sister" Azah, as he learns about the family's Armenian culture. Now, I found the film very enjoyable, well acted, and for the budget, wonderfully directed. However, I felt Egoyan could have explored many more aspects of the Armenian family and at a mere 69 minutes, the film was WAY too short. (Why does the IMDB have this at 105 minutes, did I get an edited version??) How would the relatives have treated Bedros since he had been gone for some long? (They all gather for his surprise party, but we hardly see them for two minutes before Bedros disappears to the bedroom with Azah.) The relationships between George and Sonya, and even Bedros and Azah could also have been explored quite a bit. Overall, this was a fascinating, interesting, and wonderful film, but it didn't seem fully developed and ended way too quickly...This is one film I wish was longer."
audrey | white mtns | 02/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Atom Egoyan's second film (1987) seems dated and grainy, and sitting through it until you are used to the pacing can be excruciating, but ultimately you may find this to be one of your favorite films, especially if you are interested in how film affects our lives. Told through film augmented by home movies and juxtaposed television viewing and security cameras, this deep and complex film shows that Egoyan was interested in themes surrounding the act and effects of filming right from the beginning. Also, his layers upon layers style is here in all its glory, as is actor-wife Arsinee Khanjian.The story revolves around a young man just graduating from high school, his strained relationship with his father, his doting on his maternal grandmother who lives in a shabby nursing home, and his friendship with the telephone sex operator who visits her mother in the next bed.This is one of those films that you will watch again and then watch with commentary and then want to talk to others about. Egoyan is a wonderful filmmaker, always interesting.Extras include commentary, a very interesting bio/filmography of the director, over 12 minutes of rehearsal footage, stills and three early short films by Egoyan -- Open House (25 min), Howard in Particular (12 min, 1979) and Peepshow (7 min, 1981). The film can be heard in English with English or French subtitles."
Atom Egoyan's First Two Terrific Films
Mark Twain | 06/20/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like Atom Egoyan or you just want to see two great movies, watch this 2-disc DVD set, with great commentary by the director. It's Egoyan first two features. Next of Kin is a funny, touching film about a young man who is unsatisfied with his parents and learns about another family suffering from the guilt of giving their son up for adoption twenty years ago. The young man decides to pose as the long-lost son and gain new parents that love him more. Family Viewing is about a young man who finds that his father is recording over home movies of his childhood with his homemade porn sessions. Wim Wenders won the Grand Prize at the Toronto Film Fest for Wings of Desire, but he gave his award to Egoyan saying that Family Viwing was one of the most honest films he had ever seen. Both Next of Kin and Family Viewing were nominated for multiple Canadian academy awards, including picture, director, and screenplay. Egoyan is one of today's great auteurs and has received numerous accolades, including Oscar noms for Director and Screenplay for The Sweet Hereafter. See these two films. Of interest are also Egoyan's Speaking Parts, Exotica, The Adjuster, Felicia's Journey, and my personal favorite, Calendar. Check 'em out."