Atom Egoyan takes on the Ottoman Empire’s 1915 massacre of an estimated two-thirds of the Armenian population, and though the result has generally been judged a failure, I much prefer it to any number of modest art house successes. As usual, Egoyan structures the film as an achronological roundelay of various plotsin this case, a film crew making a movie about the massacre, the troubled past of an Armenian-Canadian woman whose son is working on the project, and a protracted encounter between this son and a customs officer whose gay son’s lover is acting in the same pictureand sometimes this seems mechanical. But the film expresses with uncommon power the highly relevant issue of public indifference to genocide, which is especially well dramatized by a scene with Elias Koteas as an actor playing a Turk. The rest of the cast is pretty interesting too, including David Alpay, Charles Aznavour, Eric Bogosian, Brent Carver, Arsinee Khanjian, and Christopher Plummer. 116 min. (JR)

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