Sunday, October 4, 2009

Thought Provoking ADORATION


Powerful undercurrents of absolute conviction pull at you from all sides in Atom Egoyan’s delicately balanced “Adoration” screening at the Loft Cinema. Those who appreciate the Canadian filmmaker’s filigreed philosophy will find a richly rewarding experience here.

Repeat viewings of this precisely paced picture will keep revealing new relationships in the tapestry of emotions that link the nature of terrorism with the need to avenge personal loss, the elusiveness of real truth and the hay stack of fantasy relationships that are always available online.

In a sense, Egoyan reminds us of the truth contained in quantum physics and Buddhist teachings that everything is connected to everything else. Not in the sense that a butterfly can flap its wings in Brazil and war will break out in Angola, but in the more believable sense that a broken heart can quickly lead the broken hearted into identifying with a minority religious group that feels threatened by a powerful government.

Once upon a time the French Foreign Legion was filled with soldiers wracked with regret, battling their own inner demons as well as their armed enemies on the field. At least, that is the legend.

A saying we don’t hear much anymore is “An argument between neighbors becomes a war between princes.” Egoyan understands the volatility of making violence personal.

Just when can an act of terrorism that kills innocent civilians be justified as an act of war against…what? Religious persecution? Slavery? Genocide? There must be something worse than blowing up an airplane full of people who only want to get home.

“Adoration” begins with a teacher of French in a Canadian high school, played by Arsinee Khanjian. She also leads the school’s drama classes. In a seemingly random act she encourages her student Simon (Devon Bostick) to explore what he would feel if his father was a terrorist.

Because the boy’s own parents died somewhat mysteriously in a car crash, Simon easily identifies with the assignment. Being a teen of today, Simon does all his socializing online. Looking at a laptop screen covered with the faces of his friends peering back at him on their webcams, Simon says he has discovered his father was a terrorist responsible for taking innocent lives.

Some of the kids tell their parents and the high school teacher’s experiment in learning quickly skids out of control. The confusion spreads to Simon’s own unsettled investigation of his parents’ deaths. His mom was a concert violinist and his dad was from Lebanon.

The Jewish-Muslim conflict becomes more personal as we learn how much Simon’s grandfather hated having a son-in-law who was Lebanese. In a story where one’s value system must be constantly upgraded as new information is revealed, the pace of such situational ethics quickly escalates to the film’s conclusion.


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