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Application of Artistic License

Sophie Giraud/Sony Pictures Classics

The Museum of the Moving Image hosted the New York premiere of "Adoration" on April 27, which included a Q&A with the director, Atom Egoyan, and two of the lead actors, Scott Speedman and Devon Bostick. David Schwartz, chief curator at the Museum of the Moving Image, moderated the discussion.

"Adoration," like many of Mr. Egoyan's films, is one that deftly plays with timelines and chronology in storytelling. Mr. Egoyan discussed this style as simply how he thinks and develops narratives, and spoke about cinematography as a tool to help break down the various moments in time. Certain scenes are rosy, softly-focused, and others slightly more surreal, giving the audience hints of un-reality and imagination. While there are scenes that veer into the sentimental, Mr. Egoyan responded to an audience question by saying that he doesn't consider his films to be melodramatic in the least. He talked about his attempt to shine a light on the complexity and nuances of relationships, while melodrama aims to simplify and polarize. He did concede, laughingly, that he had recently won the Douglas Sirk Award, so perhaps there was some truth to the suggestion of melodrama in his work.

Maggie Glass/Critic's Notebook

The main character in "Adoration" is Simon, a Canadian teenager having an identity crisis - and due to modern technology, everyone with Internet access has an opinion on Simon's family issues. Simon is played by Mr. Bostick (who half-joked at the Q&A that his mom forced him to come) and Mr. Egoyan talked about Mr. Bostick's success in keeping Simon's character likable and earnest, even as he's spouting off cynicism and affected bitterness. Mr. Speedman, who plays Simon's struggling uncle and guardian, was originally considered too young for the part which was written for someone in his 40s. Mr. Egoyan changed the part upon seeing Mr. Speedman's audition tape, and ultimately felt the story was more interesting with a younger person in the role. Mr. Speedman talked about the intense amount of work he did to create the character, and derided actors who come to set unprepared, expecting the director to do most of the heavy lifting.

The actors seemed a bit exhausted from doing promotion for "Adoration," but Mr. Egoyan reveled in talking about his stories of intricate human relationships, showcased through memory and family, cameras and computer screens. While "Adoration" might not be hailed as Mr. Egoyan's best film, it certainly holds up a tradition of work that focuses on the intersections of identity and technology with authenticity and integrity.


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