Sweet Hereafter, The (1997)

The Sweet Hereafter (1997), directed by Atom Egoyan.

After a school bus accident in wintry British Columbia, a lawyer arrives and works carefully on the grieving parents, trying to build some sort of case. He has his reasons. Some of those involved won't be helping him, for reasons of their own.

Sad but rewarding, the film has a difficult structure: it jumps around the timeline without many clues for some of the scenes. We don't get to know the town or even our main characters very well and are left with questions and speculations.

A continuing theme is the Pied Piper tale, read as a bedtime story. Who took the children away? We have different candidates. In the story one lame child couldn't keep up and returns to tell the tale. We have her, too.

Great casting, with particular note of:

The medieval chamber music score suggests the Pied Piper motif. Gentle yet magically driving.

This is one of those indie films that rewards rewatching and is "discussable" in terms of having mysteries to unwrap:

Available on Blu-ray from Alliance. The black levels could be better and it has that ugly teal color grading.

Two commentary tracks, both pretty essential. The first is a deep conversation between the director and the author of the novel.

The second is a more personal reflection by the director alone: