An essay in Image and Territory: Essays on Atom Egoyan, ed. Monique Tschofen & Jennifer Burwell, Wilfrid Laurier Univ., Nov. 2006
EXCERPT from “An Imaginary Armenian Canadian Homeland: Gariné Torossian’s Dialogue with Egoyan” by Adam Gilders and Hrag Vartanian
Like Atom Egoyan, Gariné Torossian is an Armenian Canadian who has found refuge in experimental styles of filmmaking, and her works, like his, revel in the complexity of identity and its role in the artistic imagination. These two Toronto-based filmmakers, moreover, have enjoyed a dialogue about their shared preoccupations, such as Arshile Gorky, technology, Armenia, diaspora, memory, ephemera, as well as their shared aesthetic sensibilities. The interview that follows considers Torossian’s creative praxis as a mode of commenting on and ultimately theorizing Egoyan’s work as well as the themes and topics his work addresses.
Two of Torossian’s short films reframe materials from Egoyan’s features that grapple with aspects of his Armenian-ness. Her Girl From Moush (1994) utilizes photographic images from Calendar (1993) and Garden in Khorkhom (2003) integrates footage from Ararat (2002). Both shorts chart the parameters of Armenian diasporan identity while revealing the paradox of Canadian uniqueness, which according to film theorist Scott MacKenzie, “can only be generated through the projection of an ‘other’ who is both dialogistic and antagonistic in nature.”