THE SWEET HEREAFTER 1997
Directed by Atom Egoyan
This is a thought-provoking, visionary Canadian movie directed by Atom Egoyan (Exotica) and what many consider to be the zenith of his career. The story is based on the novel by Russell Banks, and it focuses on a tragedy with a school bus that occurs in a small rural town. After the event a lawyer quickly turns up, trying to sue whoever is responsible. He has to make estimates, so his job is to ask grieving families: How much money is your child worth?
This movie takes Atom Egoyan’s keen eye for social relationships and fuses it with a deep sense of humanity. Its a film that is subtlety layered, but in the end it is about grief, and how to deal with it… but it is also about the exploitation and financialization of those sentiments. And it is also about redemption. The Sweet Hereafter is extremely un-Hollywood, because it is takes time to analyze the situation… and it doesn’t push you around with cheap sentimentality. There are so many aspects that are haunting about this work… the beautiful photography, a hypnotic musical score, the deeply elegiac atmosphere it evokes. It is riveting and meditative at the same time, a balance that is very rare in cinema.
As far as performances go, Sarah Polley shines in particular, and she also wrote and performed the songs in the movie. The Sweet Hereafter scored several academy award nominations and won over 40 festival prizes.
This will be a high-definition screening.