NPR FOR THE DEAF: We Hear It Even When You Can’t

meeks_cutoff_movie_poster.jpgFRESH AIR


Kelly Reichardt‘s frontier drama Meek’s Cutoff opens in the year 1845, on the wide-open plains of Oregon, where a wagon team of three families has set out on a journey along the Oregon Trail. After their guide, a suspicious man named Stephen Meek, tells them about a shortcut across the Oregon desert, the settlers, led by Michelle Williams and Paul Dano, become lost. Reichardt and Williams join Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross for a discussion about the film, a dusty Western with long, sweeping shots of the landscape and virtually no dialogue. Reichardt, known for her naturalistic films, says she deliberately stripped the film of excess to focus on the settlers’ heightened sensations of time and space in the desert. “After reading journals [from real settlers making their way across the Oregon Trail] about this whole idea of space and time, I realized that it’s just completely different,” she says. “There’s a trancelike quality about the journey that I haven’t really experienced in tales of going West.” MORE

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