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Informally dubbed an “Oregon trilogy,” Kelly Reichardt’s three feature films made with writer Jonathan Raymond simultaneously work as finely wrought character studies, revisionist genre films, and evocative parables. In Old Joy, two thirty-something men, whose lives have taken divergent paths since their younger days, reunite for a weekend camping trip. The protagonist of Wendy and Lucy is a young cash-strapped woman, en route to Alaska in hopes of starting a new life, who finds herself stranded in Oregon when her car breaks down. Set in 1845, Meek’s Cutoff follows a westward-bound band of settlers who become lost on a desert stretch of the Oregon Trail. Told with a masterful economy of means, Reichardt’s trilogy depicts individual lives that speak of larger historical narratives, of an America that finds itself uncertain of the way ahead.
Kelly Reichardt’s work is being screened in the Museum’s second floor film & video gallery April 25 through 29.