CANNES–France–The 55th annual Cannes Film Festival opened Wednesday–as producers scurry to ensure their films become the next pick of the coveted international gathering. This year–Canadian-Armenian filmmaker will premier his latest Ararat–an account of the Armenian Genocide–not in the competition.
Egoyan withdrew the film from competition saying that the subject matter was too personal–opting instead to stay out of the political controversy the film has generated–in favor of its story and artistic integrity–which is apparently preserved in out of competition screenings at Cannes.
In a news story in Wednesday Los Angeles Times–Egoyan’s second entry in Cannes was addressed.
"Also highly politicized is ‘Ararat,’ the new work from Canadian Atom Egoyan (‘The Sweet Hereafter.’) A modern-day drama that focuses on the 1915 massacre of Armenia’s–the still-unseen film has drawn so much protest from Turkish groups–including a Web site with a boycott-threatening form letter to be sent to distributor Miramax–that Egoyan took the unusual step of declining a spot in the competition because he didn’t want to add to the controversy," the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Armenian world is closely watching the Ararat saga–as it unfolds at the esteemed film gathering in the port city of France.
Turkey has launched a campaign to smear the film and its distributor the Disney-owned Miramax Films.