Who said the Web was worldwide? Not director Atom Egoyan, whose new film Adoration explores just how confining cyberspace can be when a teenager confronts a culture clash that has damaged him and his family.

Adoration premiered yesterday at the Cannes film festival, and following a press screening, Egoyan challenged the notion that the world wide web has fostered a global community.

“That’s the cliche of the Internet, but the reality is that it exists in small interest groups,” Egoyan told reporters.

In Adoration, the key character is a Toronto teenager named Simon who confesses to a small web chat room containing only his friends that his Middle-Eastern father planted a bomb in the suitcase of his Canadian mother, who was pregnant with Simon at the time, as she boarded a plane to Israel.

The bomb was discovered, and no one was hurt. But Simon’s confession touches off a firestorm of controversy on the web and fuels a wide range of reactions — from sympathy to empathy and from love to hate.

But Egoyan does not see the response as coming from a singular collection of people all connected by the web, but rather as reactions by different groups of web users who have happened onto a small piece of information on the Internet.

“These are ultimately really closed communities that are responding to each other. It’s just drowned out by kind of a global noise,” Egoyan said.

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