Kelly Reichardt: Powerfully Observant
The Museum of Modern Art
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
River of Grass
Presented in 35mm
Post-screening discussion with Reichardt & Fessenden
Fessenden continues long-standing collaboration with auteur Kelly Reichardt, serving as Executive Producer on her recent work Certain Women, out on DVD and Blu-ray this Fall. From indiewire:
“The expanses of the American Northwest take center stage in this intimately observed triptych from Kelly Reichardt. Adapted from three short stories by Maile Meloy and unfolding in self-contained but interlocking episodes, Certain Women navigates the subtle shifts in personal desire and social expectation that unsettle the circumscribed lives of its characters: a lawyer (Laura Dern) forced to subdue a troubled client; a woman (Michelle Williams) whose plans to construct her dream home reveal fissures in her marriage; and a night-school teacher (Kristen Stewart) who forms a tenuous bond with a lonely ranch hand (Lily Gladstone), whose unguardedness and deep attachment to the land deliver an unexpected jolt of emotional immediacy. With unassuming craft, Reichardt captures the rhythms of daily life in small-town Montana through these fine-grained portraits of women trapped within the landscape’s wide-open spaces.”
Kelly Reichardt’s film WENDY AND LUCY starring Michelle Williams makes the grade: the Glass Eye Pix production named one of 25 Best films since 2000. From The New York Times:
In Kelly Reichardt’s “Wendy and Lucy,” a young woman named Wendy passes through a Pacific Northwest town on her way to Alaska, where she hopes to find work. She has a little bit of money, an unreliable car and her dog, Lucy. This stripped-down tale of desperation and hope in hard times – a Raymond Carver story for the Great Recession – stars Michelle Williams, who talked with A.O. Scott about the experience of making it.
How did you first come to work with Kelly Reichardt?
Michelle WilliamsMutual friends. Laura Rosenthal, the casting director – we used to live in the same neighborhood and she stalked me at the local coffee shop. And then I watched “Old Joy” [also by Ms. Reichardt] and I knew that Kelly was making the movies that I wanted to be a part of.
Was there a challenge for you in getting into that character?
Kelly is very clear about what she wants. She is a really easy collaborator because she is so precise, so things happen very quickly. You understand the place and the person very quickly because she’s very specific about what she wants. She’s still open. I would shoot her ideas and she would say, “Come back in a week when you’ve honed that thing down from your garish, stupid, big idea to something that I might actually like, Michelle.”
Her characters aren’t very expressive or easy to read. That has to be a challenge for an actor.
I find Kelly’s characters get to maintain a lot of dignity and self-respect because they aren’t always giving themselves away. And I find that kind of tricky. It’s an incredibly fine line to walk. Is anybody going to know me? Is anybody going to understand who I am as this person? Are they going to care? Is there going to be a there, there?
And for Kelly’s language, for her sensibility, there is. These characters don’t feel compelled to explain themselves. You have to sort of train your ear and your eye and get to know them slowly. It’s like not sleeping with someone on the first date when you watch her movies. You’re like, let me take a little time to get to know you and absorb you.
“Wendy and Lucy” came out at the end of 2008, right in the middle of the election campaign and the economic collapse. There’s a powerful sense that while the movie is very much about this one young woman and her situation, it’s also about a lot more than that.
All of Kelly’s movies are political, but you would have to maybe have been told that to be aware of it. She’s able to slip it into everything she does, but it’s never didactic or heavy-handed. It’s an essential part of who Kelly is. She’s interested in a lot of genres, but the backbone of it is, how do people get along? How do people get by?
Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, starring Kristen Stewart and Michelle Williams, is named Best Film at the BFI London Film Festival!
From the film jury:
“In a vibrant year for cinema it was the masterful mise en scène and quiet modesty of this film that determined our choice for Best Film. A humane and poignant story that calibrates with startling vulnerability and delicate understatement the isolation, frustrations and loneliness of lives unlived in a quiet corner of rural America”.
Read full article HERE.
GEP pal Kelly Reichardt and cast will host the screening of her latest film at the New York Film Festival tonight at 9:00 PM. Film will also play on Wednesday night and opens in theaters on October 14th through IFC.
CERTAIN WOMEN features KRISTEN STEWART, MICHELLE WILLIAMS, LAURA DERN, JARED HARRIS, JAMES LE GROS, and LILLY GLADSTONE. Executive produced by Todd Haynes and Larry Fessenden.
One of America’s foremost filmmakers, Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff) directs a remarkable ensemble cast led by Michelle Williams, Kristen Stewart, and Laura Dern in this stirring look at three women striving to forge their own paths amidst the wide-open plains of the American Northwest: a lawyer (Dern) who finds herself contending with both office sexism and a hostage situation; a wife and mother (Williams) whose determination to build her dream home puts her at odds with the men in her life; and a young law student (Stewart) who forms an ambiguous bond with a lonely ranch hand (radiant newcomer Lily Gladstone). As their stories intersect in subtle but powerful ways, a portrait emerges of flawed, but strong-willed individuals in the process of defining themselves.
“Kelly is very warm and very loyal with a select few people,” he answers. “She’s just a private person. She believes in the work first, and is a little wary of the pomp and circumstance of press, and even for that matter talking about her work and her motivations.”
Fessenden, for his own part, has “never been shy” when it comes to interviews, but thinks there’s room for more than one approach. “You have the Hitchcock model; I think he was incredibly articulate, and brought a great deal to cinema by talking about his process. But there’s also Kubrick, who stopped doing interviews right when he became most intriguing, and as a result, his films are deeply haunting.”
Reichardt might lean towards the latter extreme, but, Fessenden concludes, that’s “extremely charming in this day in age, where everybody is flappin’ their gums at every opportunity!”
Read full article HERE