Seven films in, Kelly Reichardt has proved herself the modern master of “slow cinema”. Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy and Meek’s Cutoff are unhurried, melancholic dramas. Her often female-fronted films don’t boldly announce themselves, but gently ease you in, enveloping you in their characters’ microcosmic journeys.
Her last film, Night Moves, a thriller about a pair of corn-fed eco-activists (Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning) who plot to blow up a hydroelectric dam, signalled a shift in tone. But she’s back in what you might call her comfort zone with Certain Women, an adaptation of Maile Meloy’s short-story collection, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It.
Certain - Women - Tone - Work - Cast
Certain Women recalls the hushed tone of her earlier work, and the cast is Reichardt’s starriest. Michelle Williams (a frequent collaborator), Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and newcomer Lily Gladstone play four women who populate three interlinked vignettes set in and around Livingston, Montana. Reichardt diffuses the wattage with long takes of cold, stark landscapes, trenchant stares, and meaningful silences.
At Sundance, where the film premiered in 2016, there were some walkouts during its first screening. But Reichardt is sanguine about the birth pains. “I get nervous premiering a new film because it’s the beginning of entering the world of talking about the movie. You’re going to talk about everything so much that you get further and further away from your experience of it. The nature of press is summing stuff up, and you’ve worked really hard to not sum stuff up in the making. So it feels a little bit like undoing your own work to get a film out there.
Perspective - View - Rhythm - Things - Everything
“I just don’t have that perspective,” she says. “I don’t have a bird’s-eye view on it. The rhythm of things seems to me so much dictated. It all just seems everything is getting faster. Faster, faster,...
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