The Tragically Hip Find The 'Courage' To Succeed

"It's Oh So Quiet" is used in Nick Cassavetes' She's So Lovely. Photo by Jay Blakesberg.

Cannes, May 18 -- The close relationship between the world of

pop music and the world of film was clear at this year's Cannes fest, which

wrapped up today with the top prize, the Palme d'Or, being shared by films from

Japan (The Eel) and Iran (The Taste Of The Cherry).

Familiar

voices were heard on many soundtracks and recording artists were often seen in

cameos in the movies, too: Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet" and David Baerwald's

"Whore In Babylon" in Nick Cassavetes' new film, She's So Lovely (which

won Sean Penn the best actor award here); Iggy Pop turning new age noodler on

the score of Johnny Depp's Brave; Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Sam Phillips and

U2 lighting up Wim Wenders' The End Of Violence; and Mick Jagger vamping

and singing "Streets Of Berlin" in Sean Mathias' gay wartime drama,

Bent, to name just a few.

But in few cases was this often symbiotic

relationship between music and the movies as evident this year as it was with

Canada's The Tragically Hip. The group's 1993 song "Courage" plays a central

role in Toronto director Atom Egoyan's award-winning work The Sweet

Hereafter, and as a result could play a major part in the band's future

success.

The film took the festival's Grand Prix (which despite its name

is the second place award), an honor that could expose thousands, if not

millions, of new ears to the sounds of The Tragically Hip...



The Grand Prix for The Sweet Hereafter should open

up some more doors internationally for the Toronto director. And The Tragically

Hip can expect some positive fallout, too, if the film gets strong reaction

worldwide as expected, and, consequently, gets movie-goers humming the theme

song.

The song is heard twice in the film, first as a cover by Canadian

actress Sarah Polley and then in its original form. The spirited renderings of

"Courage," the lyrics of which seem tailor-made for this story about the

emotional aftermath of a fatal schoolbus crash -- despite the four-year gap

between song and movie -- help to dispel some of the sorrow inherent in the

story.

The Sweet Hereafter, based on the 1991 Russell Banks novel of

the same name, could have been unrelentingly bleak, with its themes of loss of

life and loss of innocence, the latter involving a case of incest. But the

soundtrack, which also includes Polley's cover of Toronto singer-songwriter

Jane Siberry's "One More Colour," plus an original score by Canadian composer

Mychael Danna, provides positive counterbalances to the bleak images on the

film.

The international press here loved the film, giving it two top

critic's prizes, and many had picked it to win the Palme d'Or. In an interview

before the official screening of his film, Egoyan said he personally selected

"Courage" to accompany a pivotal scene in the film. "I love `Courage,' he said.

"It was important that people had some familiarity with the song, that it had

some resonance."