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ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt$
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E. Dawn Hall

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474411127

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474411127.001.0001

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Growth: Ode; Then, a Year; and Travis

Growth: Ode; Then, a Year; and Travis

(p.35) Chapter 4 Growth: Ode; Then, a Year; and Travis
ReFocus: The Films of Kelly Reichardt

E. Dawn Hall

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses all three of Reichardt’s experimental short films. Each contain elements of feminist ideology highlighting a mixture of social and cultural tensions pulled from news headlines. All three short films share a haptic sensibility via form and content. Ode based on Bobbie Gentry’s song “Ode to Billie Joe” follows an adolescent boy’s struggle with his sexuality, ending in suicide, set in the rural south. Ode is a 48 minute narrative shot on Super-8 and mixes the tension between homosexuality and extreme religious ideologies. Then, A Year is a collage of images with voice-overs discussing real life news stories: the statutory rape case perpetrated by Mary Kay Letourneau and the murder of a woman by her husband. Travis is based on a National Public Radio interview with a mother struggling to understand the loss of her son during the Iraq war. This chapter connects the influence of documentary style realism in all of these early films to her later narrative features as she explores social and cultural issues.

Keywords:   Ode, Then, a Year, Travis, Documentary, Iraq War, Super-8, Mary Kay Letourneau, Haptic, Realism, Short film

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