In Captives, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan examines the breakdown of relations between the relatives of a kidnapped young girl. The approach is reminiscent of the angle he adopted in The Sweet Hereafter (1997), the turning point in his filmmaking career.
Photo of the film © RR
A young girl suddenly disappears from a diner car park, its asphalt surface covered in a thick mantle of snow, amid the vast plains of the Canadian province of Ontario: the glacial backdrop of The Sweet Hereafter appears once again in Captives, the new film by Atom Egoyan. A master of non-linear structures in which layers of time are superimposed on each other, the filmmaker draws on the codes of the psychological thriller to explore the ways in which the kidnapping slowly destroys the ties between the drama's protagonists.
Atom Egoyan's aims in making Captives, his fourteenth feature film, echo those which impelled him to make The Sweet Hereafter, his most acclaimed film since beginning his directing career. That drama, which portrayed the despair of a small community shocked by the accidental death of its children, garnered the Grand Prix at the 1997 Festival de Cannes. The Toronto-based director, for whom the cinema is an "act of emotional and sensory immersion", interwove the plot of the film with tiny touches and a highly visual narrative, with a theme that revolved around the suffering and guilt complex of the parents. "The subject of the family is a highly emotional one for me and is central to my work," he explained when the film was released.
Atom Egoyan admits to enjoying the creation of stories which involve the audience in their very construction and which force them to ask questions of themselves. For Captives, he says he set out to "confuse things" by interspersing the classic shots with CCTV sequences. In preparation for the film, the director met a number of investigators in the fight against child pornography. "In 'Captives', people make the wrong choices at some point in the story. This film also shows the weakness of men and the strength of women," he says.
Friday 16 May / Grand Théâtre Lumière / 8.30 am - 10.30 pm