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Family Viewing/Next of Kin
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(Jun 26, 2001)
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In NEXT OF KIN (1984), a young man is having problems with his family. Catatonically unhappy, he undergoes video-therapy with his domineering parents. At the clinic, he comes across the videotapes of a troubled Armenian family, who twenty years earlier gave up their infant son to a foster home. This sly comedy explores the unexpected outcome of Peter presenting himself as this familys long lost son. FAMILY VIEWING (1987) won numerous awards at major film festivals and established Egoyan as one of the most striking new directors of our time. In this black comedy a young man discovers that his childhood home videos have been erased to make room for his fathers homemade sex tapes. These two features are enhanced by Egoyans commentaries, as well as his first short films. For aspiring filmmakers as well as cinephiles, this collection of early work is a great introduction to this acclaimed writer and director.
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Top customer reviews
The story revolves around a young man just graduating from high school, his strained relationship with his father, his doting on his maternal grandmother who lives in a shabby nursing home, and his friendship with the telephone sex operator who visits her mother in the next bed.
This is one of those films that you will watch again and then watch with commentary and then want to talk to others about. Egoyan is a wonderful filmmaker, always interesting.
Extras include commentary, a very interesting bio/filmography of the director, over 12 minutes of rehearsal footage, stills and three early short films by Egoyan -- Open House (25 min), Howard in Particular (12 min, 1979) and Peepshow (7 min, 1981). The film can be heard in English with English or French subtitles.
A teenage boy, Van, lives in an apartment with his father, Stan, and stepmother, Sandra. At some point Van carried on an affair, or so it seems, with Sandra. Meanwhile Van and Stan have a very strained relationship, although they do not talk about it. It becomes worse when Van finds out Stan is recording "private" videos with Sandra, using old VHS tapes of Van as a child. Addtionally Van wants Stan to visit his mother, who has been abandoned in a nusring home. Enter into the picture a woman named Aline, who makes her money soliciting phone sex and things really get interesting. It all ties together in the end, with some surprising plot developments, into a twisted little story.
All of the characters in this film are strangely sedated. This is a very effect plot device though, because it really helps isolate the characters from one another. It also leaves the impression that these peoples' lives are so empty and unfulfilling they have become numb to it all.
Very well shot, and poignantly directed, this is a good film. Atom Egoyan is a director new to me. I have heard nothing but positive things about his films so I will certainly be checking out others he has made. Unfortunately I have not seen Next of Kin which is also featured on this DVD. Sorry, but Family Viewing is worth checking out.