Capital Celluloid 2024 — Day 97: Sat Apr 6

Exotica (Egoyan, 1994): ICA Cinema, 6.30pm

Lost Reels introduction: Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Exotica was Atom Egoyan’s international and commercial breakthrough; with his latest film, Seven Veils due for release this year, its a perfect opportunity to see this signature work from one of cinema’s most acclaimed and distinctive auteurs. Lost Reels is proud to present this seminal film from an original 35mm release print, followed by a online Q&A with writer/director Atom Egoyan, hosted by critic Jonathan Romney, author of Atom Egoyan (BFI World Directors Series).

Chicago Reader review:
This may be the best of writer-director Atom Egoyan’s slick, Canadian carriage-trade productions (the other two are Speaking Parts and The Adjuster), though it’s also a regression, both formally and thematically, compared to his previous film, Calendar. The central location–a triumph of lush, imaginative set design–is a sort of strip club where young female dancers sit at male customers’ tables and verbally cater to their psychic needs; at the center of this faux-tropical establishment is an odd little house where the club’s pregnant owner hangs out with the jaundiced announcer (Egoyan regulars Arsinee Khanjian and Elias Koteas), voyeuristically overseeing the voyeuristic clientele. The main customer is still mourning the death of his young daughter, and other significant characters include a dancer who sits at his table, a baby-sitter, and an eccentric smuggler whose path briefly crosses that of the bereaved father. As a narrative this is something of a tease, building toward a denouement straight out of Freud; its structure both benefits and suffers from Egoyan’s customary splintered focus and repetition compulsion, and there’s an unmistakable sadness in its pornographic luster. But as mise en scene it’s rich and accomplished–for better and for worse, a place to get lost in.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Here (and above) is the trailer.

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