From The Guardian: “It’s funny how a single day can drag while entire years go by in a flash,” sighs Cozy (Lisa Bowman), the narrator of Kelly Reichardt’s debut film River Of Grass. Ain’t that the truth. It was made in 1994 but you might say Cozy is already in her own private lockdown. An unhappily married mother of two, she fills her baby’s bottle with Coca-Cola and spends long afternoons yearning for the day when some nice couple in a station wagon will arrive to take the children off her hands. One night, she absconds to a bar where she meets Lee (Larry Fessenden), a loner with a high forehead and wild tendrils of hair. They flee into the night together, climb a fence and splash around in a stranger’s swimming pool. When the homeowner finds them, Lee lets his gun do the talking, turning himself and Cozy into the Bonnie and Clyde of the Florida Everglades.”
Written & Directed by Kelly Reichardt
A drowsy, sun-drunk road movie in which a would-be Bonnie and Clyde
never really commit a crime, fall in love, or even hit the road.
“Highly original and filmed with perfect assurance…
one of the finest independent films of recent years.”
Dave Kehr, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
“A lively, entertaining movie about how life isn’t like the movies.”
Kevin Thomas, LOS ANGELES TIMES
“One of year’s smartest indies. Not for squares.”
J. Hoberman, VILLAGE VOICE
From Flamingo: “There seems to be some sort of underbelly,” says Larry Fessenden, a New York-based genre film producer who also co-starred in one of the classic Florida outlaw movies, River of Grass. The 1994 debut film of writer-director Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy,Certain Women), rereleased in 2016 and widely available to stream, emulates vintage film noir in the desperate tale of two lovers on the lam, fleeing the fuzz after a random act of violence. Except no one is dead, the lovers aren’t in love and the police aren’t looking that hard to find them.
“It’s kids on the run without them getting anywhere.” The anti-drama, as Fessenden calls it, evokes Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s 1947 book about the Everglades as it soaks in the ambience of fringy Dade County, where Reichardt, daughter of a crime scene investigator and a narcotics agent, grew up. It’s the best sort of Florida movie, one that uses a familiar plot formula, but discards predictability like a lukewarm Icee to capture something essential in the humid, mosquito-ridden, sun-bleached, nothing-much of it all.
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
“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
Reichardt recently premiered her latest film, Certain Women, at Sundance, where it was picked up by IFC for U.S. distribution and Sony for worldwide release. It reunites her with Williams and also features Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart. The director has done well for herself and grown much since she made River of Grass.
She expresses a sort of mixed nostalgia of the restoration of her first film, finally admitting the best part about it may be its documentation of a North Miami that no longer exists.
“Larry Fessenden and I did a commentary on the DVD,” she says, “and we watched it without sound, and I still haven’t seen it with sound, but it did seem like such a lifetime ago. We had such bad memories. We were like those two old Muppet guys in the balcony: ‘What did we do? We did what?’ And I think there are still parts of Miami that probably don’t exist anymore, so that part of it is interesting.”