Speaking Parts (Atom Egoyan, 1989)

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In a hotel where an uncanny reality makes moves against the isolated desires of the characters, Speaking Parts (Atom Egoyan, 1989) is a cold trip. It is loaded with unrequited love, quiet anguish, subtle and not-so-subtle power plays, technological alienation and the consequences of unruly passions.

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This film is full of curly black hair. Gabrielle Rose gives a wonderfully measured performance as a writer who is losing control of her work to a film production. Arsinée Khanjian, Egoyan’s wife, plays the insular and dreamy housekeeping staff who is obsessed with her colleague, an aspiring actor played by Michael McManus, whose blankness is chilling. Although the film shares a great deal with the spooky dreamscapes of David Lynch and the weird modernity of early David Cronenberg, Speaking Parts seems most closely akin to the kinds of crises we find in Joseph Losey’s Accident (1967). Having painted this quiet grey picture, I must add, the film is not without humour and the sentimental speeches made by the stoney faced David Hemblen as “The Producer” are golden.

This film gets bonus points because it has scenes set in a video shop.

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Check out the amazingly vintage website of Speaking Parts star Michael McManus:

http://www.michael-mcmanus.com/

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posted by Tom Moore

 

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