The Trojan Women (1971)
The 1971 film adaptation of Euripides’ Trojan Women, starring Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba, opens with the women of Troy grappling with their imminent enslavement after their city is reduced to ruin. Hecuba has not only lost her son Hector, but now must protect her daughter Cassandra from her selection for King Agamemnon’s concubine since Cassandra has devoted her life to the gods. Together with Hector’s wife Andromache, they will endure the downfall of their city and ensure that the Trojan royal lineage will live on in Hector’s son Astyanax.
Familial betrayals and grudges run deep after Agamemnon sacrifices his daughter Iphigenia to appease the gods. After Clytemnestra’s lover Aegisthus murders her husband for this egregious act, she marries off their other daughter, Electra, to a farmer in fear that if she married royalty, her children would seek revenge against Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. Instead, Electra seeks that revenge herself with the help of her estranged brother and an old loyal servant. Like in Trojan Women, Euripides’ female protagonists fiercely defend what they believe to be right and those whom they love.
The Sweet Hereafter (1997)
A town is paralyzed by grief after a bus crash kills many of its children. One teenaged girl who survives, albeit crippled in a wheelchair, is determined to move her neighbors towards healing after this tragic accident. But a scheming lawyer plans to profit from their loss by launching a class action suit against anyone he can potentially blame, causing the town’s anger to continuously resurface and have its citizens relive this catastrophe over and over. Ultimately, this film addresses the near-impossibility of moving on after insurmountable tragedy.