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Kelly Reichardt is the new thing in US independent cinema. Since the first half of the 1990s, her work has progressed tirelessly, establishing itself with its singularity and formal precision. The tonal novelty represented by Kelly Reichardt's poetic endeavor in cinema could not have been greater. The discourse carried out on the nature of the United States, on its multiple voices, has imposed itself with anthropological precision.
Thinking of Kelly Reichardt, musical parallels inevitably arise, and not just because of her collaboration with Will Oldham. The originality of her work, her mark linked to the territory and a cleanliness of the anti-rhetorical sign, ensured that her work was firmly established and without the seasonal clamor associated with so-called novelties. It is inevitable to think of the complexity with which a musician like Cat Powers has reworked the canon of the American popular song reflecting on the work of Kelly Reichardt. There’s no mannerism on the part of the director in claiming her own voice and position. And just as Cat Powers made her interpretations of other people's songs an integral part of her canon, Reichardt, dealing with Arthur Penn and Night Moves, made what is considered a key 1970s film a turning point in her own filmography.
The dramatic conversation that is unfolding in American cinema today and beyond, a conversation that strongly claims diversity, inclusion, and sustainability, finds in Reichardt's poetics its most politically and formally fascinating formulation. Like a Karen Dalton with a camera, all differences considered (and without forcing an equivalency between the two). In establishing herself as an immediately recognizable director but reluctant to use auteur formulas and mannerisms, she’s offered a sign of vitality, creative autonomy, and freedom of thought. Celebrating Kelly Reichardt in Locarno with the Pardo d'onore Manor means renewing our passion for independent US cinema, but also opening up to all the still unexplored possibilities of the future.
Giona A. Nazzaro