#52FilmsByWomen: CERTAIN WOMEN
39/52 CERTAIN WOMEN
Exquisitely Authentic. Every Kelly Reichardt film is an event that reminds me of the deepest reasons I want to be a part of creating cinematic stories. This one is also an antidote to the shrieking media hysteria that consumes our lives these days.
Set in rural–and stunning–Montana during the winter, CERTAIN WOMEN is adapted from some very short stories that follow a loosely connected quartet of women doing the best they can every day. Reichardt said in a recent interview that her films are not about arriving at a destination but rather focus on the small steps of “getting there.”
What I love about the performances in her films are the hundreds of micro-moments of truth that cross the actors’ faces. Reichardt has been called the “quietest” of American filmmakers. She lets her camera linger on a character lost in thought. They might say something but then the camera just stays and eventually you see a world of other, unspoken, thoughts flash in front of you. It’s some of the best non-acting I’ve ever seen from some truly great actors. She includes lots of animals, which I really appreciate, and finds the humor and sweetness in their repetitive behavior.
I’m also a huge fan of Rechardt’s shot composition; her films could be viewed as a series of stills and they would tell the whole story. She often leaves part of the frame in black–forcing you to hone in on what’s important–but then if you look over into the dark you’ll discover another equally beautiful detail. The film was shot in 16mm which is almost a shock in our world of High Definition but I loved the dimension of the grainy texture.
Finally, it’s beyond refreshing to watch stories about people without much means living in such a remote environment. There are zero Hollywood cliches, tricks or tidy solutions. I could relate to this film in ways I can’t relate to most and there’s something beautiful and edifying about finally recognizing yourself in a piece of art. That’s what art is for.