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Atom’s way of creating drama in films

Danuska Da Gama I NT BUZZ

The Masterclass conducted by acclaimed Canandian filmmaker Atom Egoyan, who will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award at this edition of the International Film Festival of India, drew a huge crowd, a mix of young budding filmmakers, cine enthusiasts and delegates who’ve watched some of his great works like Exotica, Chloe, The Captive, The Sweet Hereafter and others.

Speaking on the topic, ‘Making Drama’, Atom in the hour-long masterclass went on to explain how for him drama is very important in a film, because he initially worked with theatre. “The drama in my films has to do with not being completely realistic. There is some amount of drama,” he said.

Talking about how his films have always followed the unconventional path he went on to say that he doesn’t structure his stories in a linear fashion, but does a lot of shifting chronology which for him is a the way of adding drama and allowing the audience to be part of the film.

“It is about engaging the viewer, as the thrill of cinema is to understand that you are watching a film and that you are also part of it – being implicated in the film,” he said giving an example of the film The Captive. He believes that for any drama genre film to work, one needs to work on the projection through the eyes of a viewer which is when the actual transformation happens.

“There’s this sense of naturalism which I try to display in each of my films, the structure, the story-telling and the situations need to be realistic. My stories have always been unconventional,” he said. He also went on to say that as a director it is his job to be obsessed with the qualities the actors possess and harness them in the right manner.

Atom told the people in attendance that unlike most directors he doesn’t like looking into the monitor but prefers to be in close proximity of the actors for he can observe every minute detail. He laughed and called himself naïve for it was very recently that he realised that monitors displayed high definition video which shows all minute details, more clearly. Giving a lot of emphasis to acting, he mentioned that for a cinephile who watches films, he/she is eager to understand the beautiful language that comes out best through acting.

Being one of Canada’s most celebrated film directors, it was a treat for delegates to watch some of Atom’s films like Exotica, The Sweet Hereafter and Remember.


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