The Best Old Movies on a Big Screen This Week: NYC Repertory Cinema Picks, March 15-21

nyc repertory cinema-meeks-cutoffMeek’s Cutoff (2011)
Directed by Kelly Reichardt
In the past decade, Reichardt has established herself as one of the most vital working American filmmakers, consistently making intensely incisive, psychologically fraught works usually centering on women. But her most masterful film to date (and one of the best films of the decade) is her most atypical. Meek’s Cutoff, Reichardt’s only period film thus far, is an unsparingly sparse depiction of the real-life story about a wagon train that encounters a Native American while lost on the Oregon Trail. It is also her most daring work, using the vast desert landscapes in conjunction with a 4:3 aspect ratio to create an oddly claustrophobic and endlessly hypnotic experience. The film remains anchored in uneasy human moods courtesy of the uniformly exceptional cast, including Reichardt’s muse Michelle Williams and a wild-haired Bruce Greenwood, but what lingers most is the sense of place. It conjures an inescapable ambiguity that all comes together in one of the greatest endings in the history of cinema, one that radically, hauntingly recontextualizes everything that came before. Ryan Swen (March 18, 6:45pm at the Metrograph with Kelly Reichardt in person; Reichardt will also attend the 9pm screening of her 2016 film Certain Women)

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