Interview

Certain Women- an Interview with director Kelly Reichardt

It’s been a long day for Kelly Reichardt, whose latest film Certain Women is due out in the UK this Friday, 3 March. When she listens to you, she folds into herself, her chin tucked in, almost disappearing into the enormous wing chair she’s seated in. And then she looks up to answer you, keen eyes direct.

It’s the morning after the Oscars and I want to know if she stayed up to watch the now notorious telecast that ended in a confused jumble with Moonlight eventually beating out La La Land for Best Picture.

“No, I didn’t. It was in the middle of the night,” she says, smiling a little wearily. She’s been working and gearing up for this grueling press junket, with more meaningful human contact in a day than most of us experience in a week. “I do know my fellow Miami filmmaker Barry Jenkins won for Moonlight, which was one for the home team. I liked the movie very much; it was nice to see parts of Miami portrayed that you normally don’t. It was a nice little shelter from a year of cruelty – when that film came out in such harsh times, to see it celebrated.”

Often described as the new master of the American experience, Reichardt’s own film, Certain Women, is also a triptych, a look at the lives of four ordinary women in an America that refuses to be safely pigeonholed into one familiar category or the other. There is an innate loneliness to the lives these women lead, bubbling under the surface where they have carefully hidden it away. It stems from their gender, their independence, their jobs, the people they love, the lives they have chosen for themselves. When the rancher played by Lily Gladstone finally makes a push and turns herself fully visible for an instant, it is a crystallized moment of uncertainty because this entire world is built on women who disappear in plain sight.

The stories of Certain Women are based on two collections of short stories by bestselling novelist Maile Meloy, Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It (2009) and Half in Love (2002). I ask Reichardt why she was so drawn to Meloy’s work and she says, “They were just great character pieces; the characters were really sort of hunkered down in this particular environment.”

The film is set in Montana, home to Meloy, and it’s an interesting juxtaposition of landscape and lives: the visuals are of the vast sky and cold beauty that are a familiar staple of the great American Western but the characters are unlike any in those kinds of movies. There’s a lawyer (Laura Dern) whose client won’t take her professional advice seriously but needs her to be his emotional sounding board; there’s an unhappy wife (Michelle Williams) who chooses to focus on the perfect home in the midst of the shambles of her marriage; there’s a young lawyer (Kristen Stewart) who is so wrapped up in the mere act of being herself that she can’t see beyond that struggle; and there’s a rancher (Lily Gladstone) who is so desperate to make a connection, she will do it any way she can.

“[Meloy] is from Montana, so she set the stories there and I went there,” Reichardt says. “It’s super intertwined… sometimes you’ve got to come to a place to figure out the people and they go hand in hand.”

Most reviewers have singled out the story between the lonely rancher and the young lawyer she falls for; in the original collection, the rancher is male, which turns that story into a more traditional, familiar one of a lonely cowhand and a city slicker. But the story in Certain Women is not that story, it is instead an unfamiliar one of female friendship and companionship and love. I ask Reichardt about the gender switching.

“It’s not a sexual romance in that story,” she says. “It’s a crush of sorts and someone projecting a lot onto another person. It just might be an attraction to someone that has access to a world that the rancher doesn’t. Someone isolated romanticizing someone else’s life.”

It strikes me that the thing I found most interesting about Certain Women is its refusal to romanticize these lives. Unlike the characters who populate it, the film remains clear eyed to the end, taking its time to capture the complex reality of these lives.
Add Certain Women to the list of interesting movies that 2016 sent us.

Winner of Best Film at the 60th BFI London Film Festival 2016

Michelle Williams winner: Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Lily Gladstone winner: Best Supporting Actress at the LA Film Critics’ Awards

Kelly Reichardt nominated: Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards

Lily Gladstone nominated: Best Supporting Actress at the Independent Spirit Awards

Certain Women is in UK theaters this week

Kelly Reichardt was interviewed by Amrita Rajan.

You can find more of her work on her blog or follow her on twitter!

Salman Khan’s BodyGuard Interview for Upodcast!

Indian stars command a different level obsession than their western counterparts. The love and adulation we feel for “our favorites” combines the passion for a sportsteam with the myth of a rock star. We tailor our personal style, conversational idioms and day to day jokes towards them and every generation (even if they won’t admit it) has that one star that just sends them into a frenzy. My parents had Dilip Kumar, growing up we had Amitabh Bachchan but from adolescence there was only one name for me and that was Salman Khan.

The release of his Bodyguard is just around the corner (31st of August) and we had a podcast planned with him but then got diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a very painful nerve disorder for which he had to fly out for treatment for the US. But Salman Khan “ne ek bar jo commitment kardi, toh phir woh apni bhi nahi sunta” (once he makes a commitment, then he doesnt even listen to himself) and  he took to answer some of our questions via email  just before he flew out. And truth be told, I don’t know if I could have contained my excitement if I had gotten a chance to speak with him. (Clearly Upodcast is a place for fans more than journalistic professionalism)

Sabka hai Ek Bhaijaan, here is the one and only Salman Khan in his inimitable style answering questions from yours truly.

Photo Credit: www.SalmanOnline.net

Sorry to hear about your ailment through the news. I hope you are well
and that it doesn’t hurt too much? How were you able to cope with it
through shooting?

Ya, did get unbearable at times… I had planned to get myself treated
after the shoot, post productions and promotions for Bodyguard are
completed. But now pain has become unbearable.

You have had a time honored equation with music over the years? Is
that just luck or do you have a musical ear? Did you sit down with the
music directors of Bodyguard and discuss what was needed?

Na I have been lucky… my music directors do a good job.

I have been lucky enough to have all the talented music directors
composing music for the songs that I dance to on screen. I had given
certain inputs in the song ‘Teri Meri’ but it was entirely Himesh’s
creative efforts that the song a creating a buzz among people.

Desi beat has a slight tinge (maybe a sample) of “Kabooter Ja Ja” from
Maine Pyar Kiya. Do you reminisce about some of your earlier roles? Do
you rewatch any of your older movies?

All I can say Desi Beats is a big success in India and overseas. I do
recall my roles at times as I did them because I liked the role but
now I am always looking forward to do something new and exciting.

Did you bring any of those sensibilities from older movies to
Bodyguard? Is there a Jaagruti -style jungle
training scene?

Bodyguard is a very different film. I think it is an innocent love
story. It is a good balance of emotions, romance action and drama. As
far as action in the film is concerned the entire credit goes to
Vijayan Master. He directed my wanted and dabbang and wanted to push
limits with this one too.

What were the roles you think you nailed but maybe didn’t work with
audiences as well? How do you deal with a movie when it doesn’t work?

Yes, film is to be approached with new enthusiasm and more motivation.
If the film turns a blockbuster it’s great and if it doesn’t you have
to move on. The number of people watching your film is directly
proportional to how good the film is. The intension is always to make
a good movie and positive responses definitely make me feel good.

Are there times whilst shooting that you know it’s not going well? And
if so is there sometimes you pull back?

There are hardships everywhere. Facing the obstacles is the only way
to overcome them. If things don’t go well at times you just have to
work your way around it rather than pulling back.

You have been doing action movies since the start of your career but
now since Wanted it had taken another level. What has changed in your
mind?

Wanted has certainly added a lot to my performance and enhanced my connect with the viewers. But every role brings something new to me intensifies my ability to act.

Is it the effect of your TV presence that you have created a closer
bond with your audience?

Television is definitely a vibrant medium and reaches to masses far
and wide. It has been a platform to reach the audience who probably
miss out on catching me on the larger screen.

From Baaghi to Veer and of course your much respected
father (Salim Khan), writing has been a part of your life. You have taken on
painting since a few years too. Do you feel that these are ways you
communicate with your fans and audience or is it more of an internal
process where you deal with your own thoughts?

Just as everyone develops certain interests at different points in
their lives I am drawn towards painting. I am interested in painting
as it is an art form that helps me to express myself.

What type of creative input did you have in Bodyguard as the
production team is family?

My first responsibility is with my audience then it is to producer.
Who is the producer is not important. Atul (Agnihotri, producer and Salman’s brother in law-ed) came with this script
before the Malayalam bodyguard was made. And we had decided to make it
in Hindi whatever may be the faith of Malayalam.

You started the trend of South indian remakes with Tere Naam. What do
you think needs to be adjusted or tweaked when remaking a South Indian
movie to North Indian audiences?

I have loved the subjects of all the remakes I have done so far. Tere
Naam and Wanted fetched quite good results this only indicates
audiences liked the concept and the films at large. I believe it is
entirely the film maker’s call. Bodyguard which is a remake of the
Malayalam version had drastic changes in the characterization and
these were Siddique’s efforts to bring the film in a fresh form to
Bollywood’s audiences.

Are there any South Indian stars or movies you are particularly fond of?

Rajnikanth with out doubt…

Would you ever consider making a work-out dvd for all your fans that
want to be buff like you?

Have not thought about it…

So I hope you enjoyed reading some of his answers. For more BodyGuard goodness you can check out our Podcast interview with Kareena Kapoor, his co-star.

Or of course catch Bodyguard in theatres in a couple of days in a theater near you!

 

Let us know what  you thought of Bodyguard after the jump!

Enhanced by ZemantaAnd thanks to our good friend Amaluu from Bollystalgia, a fellow Sallu fan who helped us out with some of the questions!
You can follow us on twitter or Facebook by clicking links on the left!
EID MUBARAK!

A Conversation with Abhinay Deo, director of Delhi Belly at LIFF

Delhi Belly is already a huge box office and critical success, but Martin had the chance to attend the world premiere at the London Indian Film Festival and chat with director, Abhinay Deo‘s. In true Upodcast style we manage to ask the film maker about his cinematic influences (some surprising, some less so), the advantages of approaching Hindi movies from an advertising background and all this will the place was buzzing with the appearance of the London glitterati.

We have the inside track and as we were granted special access to the director for a quick interview.  Listen below to our exclusive!

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