Scene & Heard: Director Kelly Reichardt, ‘Certain Women’ part of Walker Art Center’s Redford retrospective

By Jared Huizenga – Contributing Writer


This fall the Walker Art Center is honoring Hollywood royalty through its “Robert Redford: Independent/Visionary Dialogue and Retrospective Series.”


The retrospective includes selections from Redford’s acting and directing career, but also pays homage to some films that gained exposure from, debuted at or benefited from the Sundance Film Festival and Sundance Institute, which he’s been intimately involved with since its inception in the 1970s.


Among the Sundance films that are being shown during the series is the recently-released (and opening in the Twin Cities on October 28) “Certain Women.”


The film, directed by Kelly Reichardt, features Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart and Lily Gladstone as four distinctly different women whose paths inadvertently cross during day-to-day life in a small Montana town.


Reichardt, whose directorial debut “River of Grass” will also be shown during the series, will be on hand for the free screening, which is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at the Walker.


Reichardt also wrote the script for “Certain Women,” adapting it from a collection of short stories by  Maile Meloy.


“I was taken by them right away,” Reichardt said. “It’s actually two collections by her and I read both of them. I was really taken with them and they stuck in my mind … I wrote her and asked if I could make a script out of them”


She spent more than a year working on the screenplay; teamed up with cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt (who she also worked with on “Night Moves” and “Meek’s Cutoff”); and landed a solid cast either through previous projects together (Williams on “Wendy and Lucy”), experience with filmmaker friends of hers (Stewart), or finally finding the right project to work with an actress she’s long admired (Dern and Rene Auberjonois).


“It’s a long process to get that many strong leads,” she said, noting that while some of the characters are more likable than others, each is perfectly imperfect and are brought to life by the dynamic actors cast in the roles.


The results so far have been very positive. In addition to Sundance, “Certain Women” has screened at the London Film Festival (where it was nominated for Best Film), the Sydney Film Festival (where it was nominated for Best Film), the New York Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. It currently holds a 94% “Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes (51 of 54 reviews being positive).


Reichardt said the decision to take part in the retrospective was an easy one, as Sundance has been a longtime supporter of her work.


“Sundance screened ‘River of Grass’ and that was back in 1994 when the indie world wasn’t very supportive of women directors,” she said. “They also showed ‘Old Joy’ and ‘Certain Women’ … they’ve been very much a part of me being able to make films and get film out to the world.”


More information about Reichardt’s appearance the Walker’s screening of “Certain Women” can be found here:


Certain Women
Certain Women