101 minutes| U.S.A.| 2010| Colour| D-Cinema

After her intimate character studies Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy, gifted filmmaker Kelly Reichardt delivers her most ambitious offering yet, a frontier tale unlike any western ever seen before. Given the genre’s venerable history, that’s no mean feat, accomplished by Reichardt and regular screenwriter Jon Raymond thinking themselves into the mindset of pioneers heading west on the Oregon Trail in 1845 and slowly realising that the tale-spinning mountain man (Bruce Greenwood, under serious whiskers) guiding them may not know the terrain as well as he says he does. In an impressive slow-burn of a performance, Michelle Williams is the resilient spouse who says what the rest of the wagon train are thinking, as the film creates a wholly authentic milieu of silence, fear and unending parched plains. Raymond has hinted at a Bush-era allegory, but the film’s much bigger than that. Indeed, this haunting rumination on man’s anxiety in the face of an unknowable universe is a major achievement. (Notes by Trevor Johnston).

This screening will include Kealan O’Rourke’s IFB-funded animation, Flyboy, about a wooden aviator left alone and exposed when his creator dies. 3 minutes, 2006, Colour.

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