Family Viewing

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Family Viewing
Family Viewing.jpg
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Produced by Atom Egoyan
Written by Atom Egoyan
Starring David Hemblen
Aidan Tierney
Gabrielle Rose
Arsinée Khanjian
Selma Keklikian
Jeanne Sabourin
Rose Sarkisyan
Vasag Baghboudarian
David MacKay
Hrant Alianak
John Shafer
Garfield Andrews
Edwin Stephenson
Aino Pirskanen
Souren Chekijian
Johnnie Eisen
John Pellatt
Music by Mychael Danna
Cinematography Robert MacDonald (director of photography)
Peter Mettler
Edited by Atom Egoyan
Bruce McDonald
Distributed by Cinephile (1988) (North America theatrical)
(Angel Films) (Denmark theatrical)
Release date
October 2, 1987 (Canada)
Running time
86 minutes
Country Canada
Language English
Budget $ 160,000 (estimated)

Family Viewing is a 1987 Canadian drama film.


Van (Aidan Tierney) frequently visits his grandmother, Armen (Selma Keklikian) who is living in a poor quality nursing home. At the nursing home Van meets Aline (Arsinée Khanjian), whose mother (Jeanne Sabourin) is in the next bed. Aline's job as a phone-sex worker does not pay her enough to afford any better living conditions for her mother. Van and Aline get to know each other through their frequent meetings at the nursing home. Van's mother (Rose Sarkisyan) disappeared years ago and Stan, his father (David Hemblen) is reluctant to visit his mother-in-law. Stan does go to visit Armen once, but he first visits with a stranger because he does not even recognize what she looks like. When he finally sees Armen, she attacks him. Van tries to convince his father to allow Armen to live with them but he refuses. Van also tries to convince Sandra, his father's live-in lover (Gabrielle Rose), with whom he also has a flirtatious relationship, to help him convince his father but she also refuses.

Van discovers that Stan is re-using old videotapes of their family to tape himself having sex with Sandra. Van decides to switch the tapes for blank ones to save them. He brings them to the nursing home and shows them to Armen.

When Aline is asked by a client to travel with him to Montreal, she asks Van to look after her mother while she is away. Aline's mother is upset because she believes that Aline is deserting her, and so she commits suicide by overdosing on her medicine. Van switches the two elderly women so it appears that his grandmother has died. He tells his father that Armen is dead and holds a funeral for Aline's mother before Aline returns from Montreal. When she comes back Van tells her what he has done and shows her a videotape of the funeral. He asks her to help him to get his grandmother out of the nursing home by pretending that she is taking her own mother out. Soon Armen and Van are living with Aline and both Aline and Van are working at a hotel.

Stan discovers that Van switched the videotapes and wants to get them back. Van, while watching the tapes, discovers images of his mother being tied up by Stan as a part of their sexual activities. Sandra visits Van to tell him that Stan has discovered the switched tapes and that he saw Aline visiting what he thinks is his mother-in-law's grave. She reports that Stan has become suspicious and hired a private detective (John Shafer). After Stan visits Aline to confront her, Van decides he needs to move his grandmother to the hotel so she won't be discovered. With the private detective's help, Stan tracks down the room where Armen is being kept. But before he can get there, Van reports Armen as a homeless woman who has been staying in a storage area. As a result, Armen is safely moved to a new, better nursing home. In the final scene, Van and Aline visit Armen in her new nursing home and find her sitting and talking with Van's mother - her daughter.



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