Director, writer. Victoria-raised Atom Egoyan is the most queer-friendly of the Toronto canon cabal of straight male feature auteurs, the one that understands most the volatility of desire and the ambiguities of obsession and voyeurism. Exotica (1994, 102) was both his queerest movie and, not surprisingly for a film about a jailbait [female] stripper, his big international box-office breakthrough. The queer plot in this multi-layered narrative about trauma, parent-child bonds and the sex industry (centred in the eponymous elaborate sex club), features Don McKellar playing Tomas, a hairy and handsome but shy pet store owner specializing in exotic contraband and in the scam of using extra ballet tickets to pick up tricks who all just happen to be men of colour. Tony Rayns found the gay twist “credible and charming” and was encouraged by Egoyan’s “progress” in dealing with queerness, with which “more than an aspiration to political correctness has been driving him to come to terms” (1994). Exotica was multi-prized at Cannes and at the Genies, and McKellar got the Genie for his supporting role. His period film Where the Truth Lies sees Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth commit murder in order to cover up knowledge of their secret gay romance as 1950s entertainers.
Toronto , ON