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With today being Canada Day we wanted to mark the occasion with a piece of contemporary Canadian cinema from one of the country's true auteurs for this week's Friday Night Film pick. Atom Egoyan’s powerful drama THE SWEET HEREAFTER - winner of the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes in 1997 and an Academy Award nominee - is recognized as one of Canada’s most critically acclaimed films.
Egoyan shot to prominence in the '90s with his dark and unpredictable cinema, with the success of his bold erotic thriller Exotica in ‘94 cementing his place as an arthouse darling. Further acclaim would follow with his memorable adaptation of Russell Banks' classic novel The Sweet Hereafter in 1997. Inspired by true events that took place in 1989, the story centers around the aftermath of a horrific accident that devastates a small-town community in the snowy terrain of British Columbia.
After a school bus skids off the road and plunges beneath the ice, 14 school children lose their lives and Ian Holm, in a career-best performance, plays the big-city lawyer who stirs the grief-stricken parents into launching a lawsuit against those responsible. While he is offering hope of some form of compensation, his own demons - his dysfunctional relationship with his drug-addicted daughter - plays into his empathy. But this is no courtroom drama, the film is an ominous portrait of collective grief among a broken community layered with secrets and mystery reminiscent of the moody melancholy found in Twin Peaks.

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