Wendy and Lucy

R, 80 minutes

In a special partnership with the University of IL Press, whose series on film directors includes the forthcoming Kelly Reichardt by Katherine Fusco & Nicole Seymour.

Kelly Reichardt’s humble, heartrending third feature, the talk of Cannes when it debuted in Un Certain Regard, was the writer-director-editor’s breakthrough film, an unassuming tour de force that New York Times critic A. O. Scott placed at the epicentre of a burgeoning (albeit short-lived) “Neo-Neo Realist” movement in American independent cinema. Michelle Williams, in what remains her finest performance to date, is Wendy, a young, broke vagabond stranded in a small Oregon town after her battered car breaks down and her beloved dog Lucy goes missing. The plot of this unadorned, unsentimental, unhurried drama — adapted from co-writer Jon Raymond’s short story “Train Choir” — is deceptively slight; in its understated way, it speaks volumes about loneliness, economic hardship, and compassion in a culture of individualism and inopportunity, the modern American zeitgeist. “Breathtaking … It should be required viewing” (Michael Atkinson, Sight & Sound). (2008, Kelly Reichardt, US, 80 min, DCP)

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