Kelly Reichardt

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knives
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#26 Post by knives » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:45 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:19 pm
Also, Reichardt taught film at my sister’s college and she never took one of her classes, which still pains me to this day ten years later, selfishly because I want to know how she teaches film in a live setting.
Ha, I literally had my sister take a class with Gorin under basically the same circumstances. She enjoyed it.

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#27 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:57 pm

senseabove wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:51 pm
Even if I on the whole liked OUATIH, one of my many quibbles with Tarantino in general is his planetary-sized gravitational pull on film discussions, such as being now about as frequently mentioned in this thread as the subject of the thread. And yes, I'm aware we're talking about him because Reichardt brought up and dismissed OUATIH, but that's more to my point than against it. I could never see his name written again, especially in this thread, and I'd be perfectly, blissfully happy, and that's my argument.
That's my fault. Apologies.
therewillbeblus wrote:Also, Reichardt taught film at my sister’s college and she never took one of her classes, which still pains me to this day ten years later, selfishly because I want to know how she teaches film in a live setting.
Bard? I went there (pre Kelly R), but the school's association with her and Todd Haynes is a point of film-snob pride. (Philip Roth being burried there a point of lit-snob pride)
senseabove wrote:(NB: I've only seen Night Moves once...)
It's the only one I haven't seen. Should I remedy that? Let's bring the thread back to order by convincing me to either watch or skip Night Moves.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:05 pm

Yes Bard, but I don’t get how perceived institutional snobbery takes away from the merits of what they have to offer their students. Also I literally just wrote my thoughts championing Night Moves on the previous page to do just that (bring the thread back to order)!

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TheKieslowskiHaze
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#29 Post by TheKieslowskiHaze » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:07 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:05 pm
Yes Bard, but I don’t get how perceived institutional snobbery takes away from the merits of what they have to offer their students. Also I literally just wrote my thoughts championing Night Moves on the previous page to do just that (bring the thread back to order)!
Don't misunderstand. I AM a film- and lit-snob, and I take pride in the fact that Reichardt teaches there.

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senseabove
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#30 Post by senseabove » Tue Aug 04, 2020 4:18 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:19 pm
So your argument is rooted in how you’d personally want the thread to go, and you chose to reach that goal by reducing the worth of his last film to two words? That’s only going to bring forth more defenses, especially when you’re aware of a “gravitational pull.” I’m a fan of his work, but only find this film to be a very specific case where I’m quick to defend because I believe it is far denser than others want to give it credit for. My counter argument is that the emotional value of it has been unfairly dismissed (or misread, hence what started today’s conversation) by people who have a chip on their shoulder against him for the reasons you state, or based on his other often unapologetically shallow works. Dismissing an artist or their work based on the trend of discussions others make in defense of their films is also an odd argument.
Not everything is "an argument," twbb, and me categorizing my post as one was entirely facetious. And again, the first line in that post was a joke, "macho bull" being a play on Reichardt's dismissive use of "macho" in the interview and a pun on the fact that her latest film is about a cow, which the gif was supposed to make even more heavy-handedly apparent, and even that was a joke about the discussion here, not a reduction "of the worth of his last film to two words."

So yes... I was making a joke, and commenting, not arguing, about how I'd wish the thread would go. And on that point, carrying on from the posts in the interim...
Anyways, I do think this thread is sadly lacking in conversation about Reichardt herself, which makes the ongoing debate accumulate into an unfortunately sizable percentage of the thread. In an effort to change that, I’ll say that Night Moves is one of my favorites of her works, mostly because it takes the thriller model and whittles it down to a real-time drama. The film’s rhythm mimics the slightly elevated heartbeat of someone breaking the law (outside of an exaggerated high-intensity robbery scenario), and that deconstruction of an eco-thriller into the pace of the thrills of actual ecological beings is fascinating. I think she does something similar but reversed in Wendy and Lucy, taking a more deceptively ‘lowkey drama’ story and building it as a realistic ascending anxiety attack to become a thriller.
I really do need to rewatch NM given how all my appreciation for all of her other films has grown on subsequent viewings, but it was the only one I felt averse to after finishing, whereas I was at least vaguely positive yet underwhelmed in the other instances. It seems folks are starting to come around to it, though, as I've started to see more people come out in defense of it in the past year so. I meant to rewatch it in the run up to First Cow's release, since the weekend that everything shut down I was supposed to see a mini-fest of all of her features save that one, including First Cow, with her at an in-person Q&A twice. (Jon Raymond was still able to show up for the post-Old Joy Q&A the weekend before, and he was a surprisingly good interviewee.)

I'll try to get around to watching it and see if I can muster the time and energy to write something about it.
Also, Reichardt taught film at my sister’s college and she never took one of her classes, which still pains me to this day ten years later, selfishly because I want to know how she teaches film in a live setting.
Her reviews on ratemyprofessor.com came up on Twitter recently, and some of them belong in the "rediculous reviews" thread:
Terrible sense of humor. Overarchingly misandric. Stupidly affected. Does not care about you personally, just her own strict, unflinching ethos. Did not instill me with a love for film. Her dog's nice though.



And yeah, TKH, if you like the rest of her movies, it's definitely worth seeing at least once, at the very least because it's a weird blend of a Reichardt movie and a mainstream heist thriller, as twbb points out.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#31 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Aug 04, 2020 5:08 pm

senseabove, I understand you were joking and this seems to be a case of misunderstanding tones and definitions because I wasn’t trying to suggest an argument that didn’t exist but responding to your exact words, where you explicitly referred to your statement as an argument. I’m sorry if that carried a connotation that triggered you, but maybe read back your own language before berating me for repeating it using your own choice of words, without the ability to read your mind. Here, on my end, “argument” simply meant “comment beyond two words.” Sometimes I interpret your posts coming across as condescending to the opinions of others and it’s hard to pick apart what’s a joke and what’s a smear. Obviously that historical experience is going to affect how I read the response, as well as the nature of how translatable some ‘jokes’ are in type, so I apologize for asking for ‘more’ from you in a way that perhaps seemed aggressive when I genuinely didn’t get where you were coming from or what you were trying to say. Using italics to further condescend to someone for not “getting” your brand of humor as opposed to a clearly put forth argument (sorry, “comment”) is strange though and kinda reinforces my defensiveness when trying to interpret your tones, and my expectation for more transparency in jabbed retorts. I can’t promise that I’ll understand your jokes as such and not as invalidating comments every time going forth but I’ll try to view them that way first, and I take responsibility for assuming it was the latter. I really wasn’t trying to be insensitive, and honestly didn’t comprehend your attitude or reasoning until you took the time to explain in a straightforward manner.

As far as multiple viewings are concerned, unfortunately I found that Old Joy, previously my favorite film of hers, didn’t hold up as well on a recent revisit. Wendy and Lucy and Certain Women, both of which I loved upon a first viewing, reveal more complexities (especially in that Michelle Williams storyline in the latter) over time, and I think where many of us can agree is that it’s unfair to dub Reichardt’s films as “simplistic” based on their bared down style and omission of bombastic narrative maneuvering in the traditional sense.

That ratemyprofessor review is gold, and makes me wonder what her sense of humor actually is in a classroom setting!

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senseabove
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#32 Post by senseabove » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:42 pm

We do seem to be talking past each other, so I'l just say that yes, I responded to what read to me as condescension and a pretty willful misreading with a dashed-off, sarcastically overwrought clarification, but it sounds like I went more than a little too far, and I apologize for that.



Old Joy is one I've tried to write up many times, but I've never been able to get it down adequately, which is odd, because the reason it's my favorite of hers, at least most of the time, is its rather simple, direct survey of the gendered dynamics of (American) male intimacy. It's a subject that doesn't get explored often, despite being an abundantly more common feature of daily life than the extreme, typically masculine power dynamics that get trotted out endlessly... It's something I was hoping for more of in First Cow, given the leads, and it's definitely there, but, at least on first pass, it gets a little hidden behind the back half's plotting.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#33 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:24 pm

That’s a good way of summarizing why Old Joy stirred me so much the first time (I suppose a revisit was bound to fail to measure up to that original experience of genuine male intimacy, which I can only describe as spiritual in cutting away the fat to get at a truth I hadn’t seen depicted so authentically before). This last watch I was attuned to two moments where the bond was challenged by the realities of social norms, and individualized anxieties that exist despite a harmonious union with history.

The first was Mark taking a compliment about helping kids learn carpentry (I think?) and then nervously reacting by trying to compliment Kurt for giving back to his community too, aware of the nature of social comparison and significantly not wanting his friend to be upset as the driving force rather than not wanting to have an awkward moment (though that’s fair too).

The second was when Kurt is touching Mark’s shoulders and telling him to relax when they’re naked in the hot springs. This speaks for itself, a stress between Mark trusting his friend and challenged in overcoming his own conditioned heteronormative socialization to intimate male touch while nude. His inability to fully relax his muscles is honest, but his willingness to try, and to relax a little - which he does - is critical to understanding the strength of their friendship.

The beautiful truth about these fumblings is that they don’t take away from the intimacy but portray authentic experiences that disallow a false presentation of stagnantly positive, yet shallow, camaraderie seen in many films. Their ability to either acknowledge those moments, or disregard them, and be empathic in considering the other’s feelings the whole way, allows each man to emerge closer together and aligned with empathy for their friend.

Nasir007
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#34 Post by Nasir007 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:58 pm

Since this started as a comparative, I will add my two cents here.

I have only seen Wendy & Lucy, Meek's Cutoff and Certain Women. I will say this about her cinema which I don't think gets mentioned much (and seems to me just in general film criticism and analysis - certainly American and English language film criticism and analysis - have moved away from this manner of looking at films) - for being such small humble indie films, her films show enormous formal accomplishment. At least the first two I mentioned. In the sense - fuck the movie's meaning, or what have you, just as a job of directing and mis-en-scene, the films are sensationally directed. Meek's Cutoff most definitely - (I don't know what Tarantino is smoking for that one).

I'd go so far as to say Meek's Cutoff is probably one of the most formally accomplished American films of the 2010s. The blocking, composition of the frames, the placement of people and objects within the frame is constantly remarkable and striking and for a humble film, and shows enormous auteur-ial (I know I am making up a word here) control. Her films are very heavily directed in the sense Haneke's films are very heavily directed. The approach might be different but the result is the same - you are seeing a very fastidiously put together image of exacting control by the director which is very particularly and very specifically composed and the movement of object and people in the frame is very deliberate and choreographed - despite its natural appearance. In fact I was remarkably impressed with how spontaneous she made Wendy and Lucy feel. It often takes a lot of direction for something to feel 'undirected'.

I think formal rigor is something people might not often associate with female film-makers (except say Chantal Akerman or the like) and is often attributed to control freak and obsessive male directors but Reichardt does display formal rigor which pleases me. I personally prefer this mode of analyzing films rather than digging too deep into symbolism and meaning etc so her work generally interests me. (Though of course her work gives you a lot to think about too. Meek's Cutoff's audacious ending remains one of the most impressive, stirring and haunting endings of the decade. I actually found it inspiring to the extent that a story that I have in mind which I will write some day will in some ways echo the feeling she manages to create in the ending of Meek's Cutoff. I have rarely seen that expressed so well.) (If there's any doubt by this point - let me just say it - I consider Meek's Cutoff to be a major American masterwork.)

And while we are on the topic and if we are to compare - I find Tarantino's directing to be extremely unsophisticated and banal for being such a great director - in formal terms. He does create some memorable and striking images and there are some moments of inspiration but his films don't display the regular and thorough command of the medium that some of the greats display. You can see that he was a film-lover, a genius one at that, who kinda acquired film-making chops by sheer observing. He's able to make fantastic movies but hasn't internalized film direction to the extent that anything he directs would be interesting. He leads with his writing which is very much where his major talents lie. For such a influential director, his formal capabilities are at best indifferent.

I know formal rigor is an extremely academic way at looking films and means jack squat to 99% of the film-going population (and rarely seems to interest American film critics either who have almost entirely shifted to a 'meaning' based analysis of cinema). But I personally take immense pleasure in it as I believe formal rigor can disassociate cinema from being a purely literal medium - essentially stories staged for the camera - to being its own medium.

And in Reichardt we do have a director who in her own humble unassuming way and in her humble unassuming films, has shown some remarkable formal achievement.

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domino harvey
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#35 Post by domino harvey » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:08 pm

Well, I hope you’re all happy

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#36 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:18 pm

Saying the Serenity Prayer helps remind me that I can’t control other people’s behavior, but it doesn’t work to repress the trauma of every thread turning into the Once Upon a Time.. in Hollywood thread

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swo17
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#37 Post by swo17 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:22 pm

Maybe one day Tarantino will make a movie where this thread ends differently

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senseabove
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#38 Post by senseabove » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:18 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:24 pm
That’s a good way of summarizing why Old Joy stirred me so much the first time (I suppose a revisit was bound to fail to measure up to that original experience of genuine male intimacy, which I can only describe as spiritual in cutting away the fat to get at a truth I hadn’t seen depicted so authentically before)....
You're more optimistic than me... I don't think Mark and Kurt actually have a strong friendship. I think the two of them probably had some good times in college, but both of them are realizing throughout this that, if it ever was, it isn't all that profound a connection now. They'd both like it to be, because they could use it, but the friendship they each need/want from the other requires something neither is equipped with, and that's the tragedy of the movie.

The two moments you highlight are certainly key, as they're cross-sections of the anxieties that have separated them in the intervening years: the first, social, in that "giving back" to one's community in ways that are valued requires a commitment to norms that Kurt isn't interested in or able to conform to and that Mark feels constrained by (economic stability and class cohesion); the second, interpersonal, where Kurt is so desperate for a deeper individual connection that he's breaking norms that Mark seems only marginally aware of (heteronormative masculinity; cf. the opening scene between Mark and his wife, where he's incapable of seeing how he's casting her in the role of "nagging wife" no matter what her reaction is).

I think both of them realize some aspects of why the trip and their attempt at reviving their friendship isn't successful, but neither of them knows how to ask for something different, or to receive it, and neither is quite able to see what's preventing the other from meeting them halfway, even if they can see that they're trying. The ending puts their individual lonelinesses in opposition: Mark drives with talk radio and the film cuts after he comes to a stop outside his home, and Kurt moving with unclear purpose from place to place, rejects the panhandler before changing his mind and giving him some change, then continues his desperate wandering.

So while I'd agree that their ability to recognize those moments and react empathetically is crucial to the movie, if they "emerge closer," it's with a mutual, futile-feeling recognition that neither knows how to bridge the distance between them. And Reichardt is neither diagnostic nor prescriptive about that, just observant and empathetic.
therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:18 pm
Saying the Serenity Prayer helps remind me that I can’t control other people’s behavior, but it doesn’t work to repress the trauma of every thread turning into the Once Upon a Time.. in Hollywood thread
It's an iteration of Godwin's law: "as an online [film] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving [Tarantino] approaches 1."

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#39 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:38 pm

senseabove wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 8:18 pm
So while I'd agree that their ability to recognize those moments and react empathetically is crucial to the movie, if they "emerge closer," it's with a mutual, futile-feeling recognition that neither knows how to bridge the distance between them. And Reichardt is neither diagnostic nor prescriptive about that, just observant and empathetic.
I agree with all of that, though I suppose I'd reframe the tragedy you see as something honest that transcends the expectations of a getaway weekend with your friend into self-consciousness and inevitable individualization. The intimacy I find is in an admittance (the first step in a paved way to acceptance) that relationships are dynamic and not static. So their inability to engage in the way they want to could be seen as tragic, and it is in a sense, but it's also a reminder of what 'was' and what 'is'- the acceptance of which can make one grateful for what they had (freedom, youthful years, a closer friendship), and what they have now (a wife, a child on the way, memories), without trying to escape one for the other, holding both as inherently compromised states when compared to fantastical expectations. By experiencing the shattering of the fantasy of heightened movie intimacy, they can assess their relationship on the terms of reality and find that gratitude, which like real life often doesn't come by way of in-the-moment catharsis but afterwards.

I think we really only get an insight into Mark's perspective on this, or at least that's how I read it this last watch. I also believe you're right about Reichardt's stance towards all of this- I just think there's a surging beauty and "real" intimacy there that might appear as a half-measure of traditional cinematic male friendship, but nonetheless is true to the condition of many friendships with history into that era of adulthood when people have gone their separate ways. As someone around that age who has been wrestling with many instances like this, trying to recapture the magic, becoming depressed when that reveals itself as futile, and ruminating on those memories of 'better' times, there's something very serene about accepting what 'was' and what 'is.' I still have some strong friendships that are more stereotypically "intimate" from those years, but most have changed on the surface 'for the worse' but with a reframe, exactly how they're supposed to be. Sometimes the intimacy of history, even if more awkward and distant in many ways, still surges between people- and it's the movement from those false expectations to the true realities, that allows one to see it.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#40 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:31 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Tue Aug 04, 2020 3:19 pm
Night Moves is one of my favorites of her works, mostly because it takes the thriller model and whittles it down to a real-time drama. The film’s rhythm mimics the slightly elevated heartbeat of someone breaking the law (outside of an exaggerated high-intensity robbery scenario), and that deconstruction of an eco-thriller into the pace of the thrills of actual ecological beings is fascinating. I think she does something similar but reversed in Wendy and Lucy, taking a more deceptively ‘lowkey drama’ story and building it as a realistic ascending anxiety attack to become a thriller.
Just revisited Night Moves and though I feel like it functions similarly to what I stated here from memory, I forgot just how intense the anxiety amounts to over the course of the narrative. This is a thriller that acknowledges how stress is most excruciating when forced to just... sit with it, a sedate state opposing the relaxation often associated with slowness. Reichardt films many scenes in real time, with enough objectivity to provoke a steady paranoia in us as we align with the elevated heartbeat of a pace rather than loud chaos, which just isn't an accurate depiction of this kind of anxiety. As the stakes for self-preservation increase, there's an established hopelessness in escaping the enigmatic threat of persecution, and instead of a 'twist' the tragedy is in there being no outlet to connect and relieve personal burdens.
SpoilerShow
When Sarsgaard refuses to meet up with Eisenberg, who only wants to bridge a connection with another human being, and therapeutically receive validation for the decision they made together, his impotence for release is cemented. The irony is striking, for what started as an underground collective of likeminded people on a harmonious mission to keep the world liberated ends with these characters either dead or damned to individualized figurative prisons of solitude. Eisenberg's destiny is to always be looking over his shoulder and trapped with guilt that he can never share with another human being. And the real kicker is that we empathize with his position, not through typically-detailed characterization but from having literally been trapped in his shoes of brooding stress this whole film, and must divorce our morality of 'deserve' with what simply 'is'.
The most pleasurable parts of the film occur in the first act when we witness the plot moving into place, with a particular highlight being Fanning's attempt to purchase fertilizer from LeGros. The tension in that long exchange across two scenes is a testament to how Reichardt can take a simple documentary-like banal scene of dialogue in going through red tape to purchase goods, and transform it into one of the best thriller setpieces of the last decade.

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Re: Kelly Reichardt

#41 Post by JakeB » Mon Sep 14, 2020 7:52 am

I'm not sure if this is the right place for this, but has First Cow been picked up for distribution in the UK yet? My googling is turning up nothing.

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