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THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE:
THE FILMS OF KELLY REICHARDT
TOURING RETROSPECTIVE
premieres April 19, 2016

MEEK’S CUTOFF (2010)

MEEK’S CUTOFF

2011, 104m, USA
with Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, Will Patton, Shirley Henderson; screenplay by: Jon Raymond; cinematography: Christopher Blauvelt; produced by Elizabeth Cuthrell, Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani


Oregon, 1845. A group of settlers with a hired guide, Steven Meek, make the trek from Missouri across the Cascade Mountains with the dream of staking out land in the West for a prosperous future. We make the trek along with them, from a lush, water-filled landscape to the dried-out, dusty, windy, and unforgiving high desert. The eerie and airy score of Jeff Grace blends beautifully with the sounds of nature and the squeaky wheels of oxen-drawn wagons. Reichardt puts the three women in the forefront as the storytellers of this anti-Western. Here, unlike in their previous collaborations, the director and her screenwriter, Jon Raymond, allow hope to be the driving force of the plot. The settlers lose their trust in Meek, as he not only gets them lost but sparks their fear of a Native American wanderer who is the only one able to lead them to safety. Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan, and the rest of the ensemble cast realistically portray the struggles of the pioneers’ faith, their lives stripped to the essentials and their humanity tested.

 

 

“Some kind of masterpiece. Fascinating. Aesthetically provocative. Enthralling.” Kenji Fujishima, SLANT MAGAZINE

 

“Meek´s Cutoff is a real movie-movie, with star performances and literal life-or-death stakes.” Karina Longworth, THE VILLAGE VOICE

RIVER OF GRASS (1994) RIVER OF GRASS (1994) Titled after the Native American name for the region, River of Grass tells the story of a thirty-something mother of three who runs away from boredom and her family. Restless and on a quest to find excitement, she meets an equally lost soul, a man-child hanging out in a local bar. What follows is a hilarious “crime” spree of the clueless pair on the run. OLD JOY (2006) OLD JOY (2006) Two longtime friends set on a weekend camping trip in the Oregon woods. One has remained faithful to the freewheeling life of their youth, avoiding any decisions that can’t be taken back. The other one has settled down, and is soon to become a father. By the end of the journey, they’ll either face off or find out what holds them together. WENDY AND LUCY (2008) WENDY AND LUCY (2008) In this formally minimalist drama, the title heroine, Wendy, sets out on a cross-country drive with her dog, Lucy, in the hope of finding a well-paying job in Alaska’s fish processing plants. When the car breaks down, it plunges her even deeper into despair, threatening to unravel her already dire circumstances.  MEEK’S CUTOFF (2010) MEEK’S CUTOFF (2010) Oregon, 1845. A group of settlers with a hired guide, Stephen Meek, make the trek from Missouri with the dream of staking out land in the West for a prosperous future. We make the trek along with them, from a lush, water-filled landscape to the dried-out, dusty, windy, and unforgiving high desert.  NIGHT MOVES (2013) NIGHT MOVES (2013) Night is the setting for all of the most dramatic events in this thrilling story of three Oregon-based radical environmentalists who seek to bring the masses to recognize the impending doom of Earth’s depletion through an act of extreme sabotage. But they aren’t prepared for the unintended consequences of their actions.


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