We’ve officially entered the spookiest season of the year, and we’re giving you one last chance to watch the seductive, disturbing Bridgend (featured in this week’s main image) before it disappears from our library. You only have until October 14 to catch it! Don’t let it slip from your grasp. Hannah Murray of Game of Thrones stars in this thriller, which is set in an insular village where the teenagers are killing themselves in unusually high numbers (and not leaving notes), made all the more chilling by those four little words: based on real events. For his fiction film debut, the director embedded himself for six years in the real Bridgend county, Wales, where seventy-nine suicides occurred between 2007-2012.
The scary cherry on top of the trick-or-treat season, besides the excuse to eat candy with impunity, may well be that you can gorge without guilt on all things undead. I mean, we love The Walking Dead for bringing the zombie apocalypse into our living rooms every week, but this genre is a big tent, and there’s a lot to love. Do you know just how deep and how far back the trail of re-animated corpses goes? Check out this great video essay — it’s good for your braaaaaaains:
Did that whet your appetite? Fear not, because Fandor has an incredible collection of zombie movies that numbers well into the dozens! Might we recommend just one of them? Lately we’ve been really loving Wild Zero. With a killer mix of rockabilly style and zombie butt-kicking served with a heaping side of alien invasion vibes, this quintessential midnight movie is fun, fierce, and very fashionable. Pompadours? Check. Motorcycles that spit fire? Check. A take-no-prisoners band called Guitar Wolf? You know it. Plus, you have to love a movie so self-aware that the DVD release includes its own drinking game! Don’t worry, it’s reproduced for those of us living in the twenty-first century here. Enjoy responsibly.
In film-world news, it’s been quite a week for indie powerhouse director Kelly Reichardt, whose new film Certain Women just played the New York Film Festival after a triumphant debut at Sundance earlier this year. Reichardt’s name is one you’ll want to get familiar with if you aren’t already. She’s the mind behind, among other acclaimed features, the gripping, wrenching dramas Meek’s Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy, which both feature a no-holds-barred performance by lead Michelle Williams. We think Eric Kohn puts it best in his Indiewire review and profile:
Reichardt’s movies are a mesmerizing statement on the solitude of everyday life for working-class people who want something better. They’re trapped between a mythology of greatness and the personal limitations that govern their drab realities. By attending to atmosphere and attitude as much as plot, Reichardt has quietly become one of the country’s best chroniclers of the American experience, but audiences don’t appreciate the clarity of her vision nearly enough. This has been a challenge since the outset of Reichardt’s career. Her lonely anti-hero in River of Grass puts it best: “It’s funny how a person can leave everything she knew behind and still wind up in a familiar place.”
The whole article is a fascinating read, if only for the reminder that over a decade passed between Reichardt’s promising debut and her follow-up/comeback, Old Joy (starring Will “Bonnie Prince Billy” Oldham). We also recommend these “Reichardt 101” resources to get you caught up on her unconventional oeuvre, which she has strived to create and define on her own terms:
- Reichardt interviewed by Gus Van Sant in Bomb magazine back in 2008 – it’s Pacific Northwest-tastic!
- Keyframe’s extensive coverage of Reichardt’s career (we make no secret of the fact that she has plenty of superfans on Planet Fandor)
- And this powerful video tribute to Reichardt’s penchant for “road movies without the road”:
We wrap up the week on a slightly less celebratory note: It has been a year since we lost Chantal Akerman, the kind of director whose films change lives. Liam Billingham, who was lucky enough to study under Akerman at City College, recalls her at-times destabilizing tutelage, getting the news of her death, and more over on Keyframe. It’s a moving and fitting tribute to a master of the craft and the art of filmmaking. And if you haven’t yet had a chance to see it, we highly recommend watching Chantal Akerman: From Here, in which the exacting, insistent, and candid auteur speaks about her life’s work. We’ll leave you there, and see you next week when we have more movie goodness to share.