Episode 1: Kelly Reichardt

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

 Lilly Gladstone, one of the stars of Kelly Reichardt's  Certain Women . In an interview for The Drunk Projectionist, Kelly Reichardt also discusses other films, including  Wendy and Lucy . Photo by Jojo Whilden. Courtesy of IFC Films.

Lilly Gladstone, one of the stars of Kelly Reichardt's Certain Women. In an interview for The Drunk Projectionist, Kelly Reichardt also discusses other films, including Wendy and Lucy. Photo by Jojo Whilden. Courtesy of IFC Films.

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 this episode of The Drunk Projectionist film 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.

Oh, and a personal note: Unlike a lot of artists, Reichardt is always in the moment during interviews. I loved her off-the-cut takes on trains, her behind-the-scene reveal of stealing trains sounds from Gus Van Sant, our comparison of "secret" places in South Dakota and her genuine openness.

— Todd Melby

THE REICHARDT FILE

• 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.

• The Guardian's Top 50 Films of 2017: Certain Women.

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

ADDITIONAL READING + VIEWING

• 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

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