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Exotica (1994)

R | | Drama | 24 March 1995 (USA)
Francis, whose daughter was murdered a few years ago, is always watching Christina dance in the night club Exotica. One night he is dared to touch the girl and ends up being thrown out. He then sends in Thomas to try and find explanations.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
David Hemblen ...
Inspector
Calvin Green ...
Customs Officer
...
Thomas
Peter Krantz ...
Man in taxi
...
...
Zoe
...
...
...
Man at opera
...
Tracey
...
Harold
Jack Blum ...
Scalper
Billy Merasty ...
Man at opera
Ken McDougall ...
Doorman
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Storyline

This psychological thriller is true to its subjects as well as being complex, dynamic, and overly dramatic. How something so long ago, seemingly trivial, years later with more significant trauma, turns repressed emotions into a dysfunctional life and distorted thinking. This is all merged into a psychological menagerie that unfolds piece by piece to perfection. Written by benignjamin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In a world of temptation, obsession is the deadliest desire.

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Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

24 March 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Exótica  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

CAD 2,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$5,132,222 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Elias Koteas's first scene has him speaking into a microphone to the clients in the Exotica club. Koteas' first scene in Crash (1996) has him talking into a microphone to an equally selective audience. See more »

Goofs

The cuts on Francis's face change size & shape throughout the movie after he gets thrown out of Exotica. See more »

Quotes

Eric: He comes in here every other night. He has his favorite drink, and his favourite table, with his favorite dancer. Sometimes he has to wait for her, and sometimes she's waiting for him, to protect him. She's his angel.
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Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

A chantar
Performed by The Toronto Consort
Selected from the CD release "Full Well She Sang"
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User Reviews

The Taboo of Human Contact
2 April 2001 | by (Olean, NY) – See all my reviews

'Exotica' is clearly Egoyan's best film and his most successful presentation of the motifs that have characterized his films throughout his career; these include the presentation of the narrative out of chronological order, the interaction of characters by means of videotape and hidden surveillance, the relationship between parent and child, and the repetition of situation and dialogue. The film's theme involves the superficial barriers-both physical and psychological-that prevent people from making a genuine emotional connection with others; as we watch the film we witness how various people react to these barriers and struggle to break them down. The film's strong emphasis on structure and focus on Thomas' and Francis' parallel 'hunts' for human contact can't help but remind of that masterpiece of medieval literature 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight' (this is a work that Egoyan was born to adapt to the screen). In my opinion each of the film's six major characters parallels another to compile three pairs. The first pair of characters is composed of Thomas and Zoe. The most obvious similarity between these two is that each owns one of the film's two principle locations. Thomas' pet store and Zoë's strip-club are comparable in that both are businesses whose principle merchandise is living creatures that are excessively displayed so as to persuade the customer to make a purchase. Moreover, while the pet store is lined with glass cages and fish-tanks, the walls of the strip-club are composed of two-way mirrors through which employees can secretly observe the customers. In addition to the life that each openly sells, both also possess hidden life. We see this in Zoë by the fact that she is very pregnant, but must disguise her appearance so as not to remind customers of the possible consequences of the lecherous behavior that her club encourages. Likewise, in the film's first scenes we see that Thomas is pregnant in a different way. Here, he is smuggling exotic bird eggs into the country by strapping the eggs to his stomach in order to hide them from Canadian customs officials. This hidden life also extends to their introverted personalities. To combat their inability to communicate verbally, both try to make interpersonal connections by means of physical contact. In a sense, then, Thomas and Zoë (as the Greek origin of her name might suggest) are givers of life both openly in their businesses and privately in their interaction with others. Next, Francis and Eric are parallel characters because of their mutual obsessions with Christina. Although Christina is intended to be seen as a sex object, neither Francis nor Eric has any interest in her in this regard. Instead, she symbolizes an emotional relationship that both once had, but now have lost. When they eventually discover their real relationship, Francis and Eric find that they do not need Christina and make an emotional bond with each other, which is symbolized by a physical embrace. Lastly, Christina and Tracey can be associated because Francis considers both as symbols of his dead daughter. However, Francis' relationships with Christina and Tracey both fail because he is unable to develop bonds that go beyond their assigned roles as a stripper and babysitter. Therefore, while Zoë and Thomas can be seen as givers of life, Christina and Tracey clearly receive life by taking on the roles that Francis and Eric impose on them. There are also many reoccuring images and symbols that reinforce the emotional isolation of the characters. The use of secret surveillance by two-way mirrors serves both as an invisible yet uncrossable boundary between people who would otherwise be very close to one another and as a way for the characters to make private judgments of those who are being unwittingly observed. In fact, while Eric secretly observes and judges Francis during his nights at Exotica, Francis, because of this job as an auditor, does the same to Thomas during the day. Egoyan reminds us that this relationship can ultimately be extended to include the audience members, who also make private judgments of the film's characters (we've this before in films like Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' and Powell's 'Peeping Tom'). As we watch the film, we too are in a sense reaching out to forge an emotional connection that transcends the barrier of the medium itself. The film's overriding presence of money suggests to the characters that the only legitimate grounds for a relationship is financial, and any time an emotional connection is made the characters feel guilty if they are not paying for it. Finally, the frequent appearance of parrots and their uncharacteristic silence reflects the characters' inability to communicate and overcome the losses of their past. I've really grown to admire this film and Egoyan's work in general. In 'Exotica' he creates a work of complex symmetry and interconnecting symbols while also conveying an atmosphere of lyrical intensity.


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