elective Identities


Edited by Tom McSorley

Published by the Canadian Film Institute, 2010. All rights reserved.

Book Design: Bryan Dunlay

Copy editing: Tom McSorley, Scott Birdwise, Dominique Forget.

Acknowledgements: Thomas Holland McSorley (1922-2010) and Therese McSorley, Tina Legari, Maya and Benjamin, Paul Byrnes, Jim McKee, Atom Egoyan, Leonard Cohen, Carlos Fuentes, Philip Hoffman, Janine Marchessault, William D. MacGillivray, Terry Greenlaw, Larissa Fan and Lauren Howes (Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre), Doug and Moira Birdwise, Victoria Ptashnick, Dominique Forget, Bryan Dunlay, Peter Harcourt, Andre Loiselle, and, of course, Gariné Torossian.

This publication was made possible with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.


In a national culture seemingly obsessed with identity, the careening, intense, arresting works of Gariné Torossian are poetic cinematic searches for and expressions of those very elusive notions of belonging and identification that make her an idiosyncratic yet quintessentially Canadian artist. Formally freewheeling and merging the visual languages of Super 8, 35mm, and video, her body of work is one of the most startling and original to have emerged in Canada over the last decade and a half.

Born in Beirut, raised in Toronto and now Paris-based, Armenian-Canadian filmmaker Gariné Torossian’s striking works explore the complex constructions of personal, cultural, and national identities. For two decades, these explorations have yielded some of the most daring moving images ever produced in Canadian independent filmmaking.

From June 26 through 29, 2010, the Canadian Film Institute was proud to present a special three-part retrospective of the work of Gariné Torossian to coincide with this publication.