Episode 1: Kelly Reichardt

The 'western feminist' Kelly Reichardt is also really into trains.

Kelly Reichardt’s films are full of pregnant pauses and extended silences. In fact, her movies often lack a background score. They’re shot in the American West and filled with open skies and people living on the margins.

In an interview with Todd Melby of The Drunk Projectionist podcast, Reichardt discusses why she substituted train sounds for soaring music in Wendy and Lucy and Certain Women. The director of several widely-acclaimed films also tells us why she often shoots outdoors in natural light, how men and women sometimes view the scenes differently and why many of her movies are based in Montana and other western states.


• Films starring Michelle Williams: Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek's Cutoff (2010), Certain Women (2016)

• Films based on fiction by Jon Raymond or written by Jon Raymond: Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek's Cutoff (2010) and Night Movies (2013)

• Cannes Film Festival, Nomination: Wendy and Lucy (2008)

• Venice Film Festival, SIGNIS Award: Meek's Cutoff (2010)

• The Best 25 Films of the Century (So Far): Wendy and Lucy (2008)

• The Guardian's Top 50 Films of 2017: Certain Women at #22

Usually the characters are stuck somewhere and there’s always these trains passing in and out and on the move. They’re either emotionally stuck or physically stuck wherever they are. So I guess the sound of trains coming and going has some kind, some kind of meaning to it.
— Kelly Reichardt on trains as sound design
 Lilly Gladstone, one of the stars of Reichardt's  Certain Women . Photos by Jojo Whilden. Courtesy of IFC Films.

Lilly Gladstone, one of the stars of Reichardt's Certain Women. Photos by Jojo Whilden. Courtesy of IFC Films.


• On working with DP Christopher Blauvelt: "He’s so invested in getting you what you want. He does not have a separate agenda for himself. That’s a really hard thing to find." Filmmaker, 2016

• Stay away from her computer: “Nobody comes into my editing room, ever, Art by committee is a really bad idea.” New York Times Magazine, 2016

• "My films are about people who don't have a safety net." British Film Institute, 2017

• "Scouting just brings a lot of information." Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2014

• Michelle Williams after watching Kelly Reichardt's Old Joy: "I thought Kelly was a man."      Film Society of Lincoln Center, 2008

Subscribe to The Drunk Projectionist podcast on iTunesStitcher or SoundCloud.