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Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des villes disparues)
by Rose Finlay

Denis Côté, Canada

Rural small-town life in Quebec is dying. When Simon Dubé, a young local boy in one of these towns dies in an automobile accident, the locals are stunned. They do not know how to cope and the mayor resists any help from the government to help the grieving community. It isn’t how things are done in this small town. They will band together as they always do. As they all try to move on, something strange starts to happen. Children with scary masks are playing in the fields. Is that Simon watching from afar? The ghosts of the community are rising, are they real or imagined? What are they trying to say with their silent vigil?

Director Denis Côté’s film is minimalist and sad, a quiet rumination on the death of rural communities. There is no hope here. The colors are muted, no music to be heard, just a low drone. Maybe the reason the dead are being seen is because the town folk are dead already, isolated and suspicious of the outside world, holding onto something that has no place in the future. It is certainly a film which can be analyzed in a multitude of ways and although this ghost story does not have any thrills or scares, its low-key mysteriousness is enough to keep it interesting. It may end up with a place in art-house cinemas and this quiet little film is likely to stick with you.