Singular independent filmmaker Kelly Reichardt has amassed an incredible body of minimalist, austere, and realist cinema that’s very much outside the mainstream, never been worried with traditional narrative tropes, and is uncompromising in its dedication to her vision. Her films, often crafted from a raw, DIY aesthetic — “Old Joy,” “Wendy and Lucy,” “Meek’s Cutoff,” “Night Moves,” and, most recently, the Sundance hit “Certain Women” — have attracted some of the best characters actors in Hollywood (Michelle Williams, Jesse Eisenberg, Peter Sarsgaard, Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart) and often premiere at some of the most prestigious film festivals around the world.
While her debut 1994 film, “River of Grass,” was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards, as well as the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the movie vanished into obscurity for several years, and Reichardt wasn’t able to make another until 1999. But that acclaimed “River Of Grass,” a type of revisionist noir, debuts this weekend in limited release in a pristine new digital restoration from Oscilloscope Pictures.
To celebrate the re-release, we’ve collected a few goodies, most of them from Fandor. First up is Adam Cook’s “Meek’s Cutoff, An Untypical Western,” which speaks to the hypnotic power of Reichardt’s minimalist and mesmerizing 2010 film, “Meek’s Cutoff,” starring Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Bruce Greenwood, and Zoe Kazan. Following that there’s Jessica McGoff’s self-explanatory “Going Nowhere: A Tribute to Kelly Reichardt,” which contemplates the filmmaker’s themes of travel without aim or destination, and the sense of isolation, loss, and uncertainty that often come with it. Lastly, the Film Society of Lincoln Center has dug up a 2013 talk about her film “Night Moves” and housed it within their excellent Close-Up podcast.
If you’re going to see “River Of Grass” this weekend, there’s no better prep than watching the two video essays and digging into the podcast chat. Even if you’re not in one of those limited release theaters, all of the content is a strong reminder why she’s one of the most beloved indie filmmakers working today. Watch and listen below.