Cannes, France ( Associated Press) — The quiet notions, everyday hassles and intermittent moments of transcendence that make Kelly Reichardt’s films always have a rhythm different from that of most American films.
Reichardt’s latest, “Showing Up,” which premiered Friday at the Cannes Film Festival, is no exception, but it’s also more about the compulsions and pains of creating modest, hand-crafted art. Michelle Williams plays a Portland, Oregon, ceramics artist of a little-known but quiet devotion, trying to prepare a gallery show, while things like a distracted landlady (Hong Chow) and a wounded bird intrude into his life.
“We were trying to make a film about someone who is caught in the balance of day to day, for whom working is like eating, but you have all these other demands of life,” said Richard, who co-wrote the film. Written regularly, screenwriter Jonathan Raymond said in an interview on the Beach in Cannes.
How Richard, 58, who has long been a prominent American indie filmmaker, has balanced his career in filmmaking with the demands of life, has sometimes been a matter of debate. Continuing to make films, Richard Bard also teaches film at the college. Williams suggested in a recent article that teaching Reichardt to take care of health, Gawker published a piece titled “Kelly Reichard Shouldn’t Keep Up With Bard Students”.
“I yell at him,” said Richard. “The thing is, I love teaching. The idea of it really bothers me. I never watch anything but someone sent me that link. I never had any idea that filmmaking was going to keep me going.” .
“I always think: I have to go to make a movie? That’s cool. About the Milk Stealer?” Said Reichardt, whose sublime 2020 film “First Cow” revolved around a pair of baking friends in 1820s Oregon. “I mean, I get it. Filmmaking is expensive. Yet, in America, we don’t do art for the sake of art. But I’m lucky. In the last few years, I have got to make a lot of films. The people who are going to make these films are either ready for it or they are not going to be involved in it. If A24 is ready to make a movie about two ceramicists, that’s great. ,
“Showing Up,” which A24 will deliver in theaters on a date yet to be announced, is one of the last films to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, which ends with an awards ceremony on Saturday. It is one of five films out of 21 for the top Palme d’Or award that were directed by a woman – a typical ratio that is often criticized at Cannes.
The day before Cannes started last week, “Showing Up” came at a press conference organized by the festival’s artistic director, Thierry Fremoux, who was defending Cannes’ record with female filmmakers. For example, a journalist discussed whether Richard’s film was “major” or “minor”.
“And Thierry said, ‘They’re all minors’?” Richard guessed, laughing.
It was an ironic exchange that the Richard films, where economic inequalities often determine the lives of the characters, have never met the traditional dichotomy of the situation. The stakes in “Showing Up” may be low, but more importantly, they do whatever it takes to mean the characters. “A lot of people are creative,” Williams’ character says.
“If we’re talking in context, like, the hit is on side A, then I’m fine with side being the B-er,” Reichardt says. “But if it’s in the context of your own work, it’s probably more discouraging. If you’re already a minor and then you’re a minor of your own, I don’t know. Really thinking about these things There’s no need to spend too much time in the U.S. because the rest of the world will decide only for you. You can just do your own thing and let everyone else figure it out.”
And for Richard, much of the joy of “Showing Up” relied on the Portland-based cast to create the pieces seen throughout the film. He shot the majority of the film in a closed art school, filling its classroom space with artists and art-making.
“It’s community-based. These are singular artists doing their job, but they’re not in a vacuum,” said Richard as the thumping music of a nearby DJ preparing for the night’s party nearly drowned him. “You can talk about it in terms of filmmaking as well. I am working with my colleagues. The kids were making stuff up that I would go home at night and work on the script. We were all passing things on and learning. It basically became a school.”
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