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Cycles of genocide, stories of denial : Atom Egoyan's Ararat
journal contributionposted on 2009-08-01, 00:00 authored by Donna-Lee FriezeDonna-Lee Frieze
This article focuses on Atom Egoyan's Ararat and explores how, through a convoluted narrative structure, Egoyan grapples with denial of the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of those denials for present generations—both Turkish and Armenian—illuminated in the film as an extension of the genocide. Egoyan uses a film-within-a-film to move beyond a popular definition of genocide as mass killing alone and links the understanding of stories, truths, and perspectives in everyday life to the dehumanizing acts of genocide. Employing the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas’ ethical theory of the Other (the ethical) and philosophical understandings of ontology (dehumanization) to illuminate the genocide and its ongoing denial, this article contends that Egoyan's focus on the generations of genocide survivors points to the ethical responsibility to one another that underlies everyday lives and sits at the heart of what is absent in the acts of genocide.