Close Up

12 March 2016: Wendy and Lucy


Wendy and Lucy
Kelly Reichardt
2008 | 80 min | Colour | DCP

Lucy is the dog. Wendy is her owner, a 20-something urchin chasing dreams of economic stability in Alaska and trying to cross the country in a shaky car with her canine companion and a precariously small amount of cash in a money belt. When a series of misfortunes strands the pair in a backwater town in Oregon, Wendy and Lucy unfolds like an unlikely thriller in which what should be small setbacks loom as large, life-changing obstacles for a vulnerable character with no safety net facing the frequent indifference of strangers.

"There’s a Fassbinder film that I was thinking of all the time we were making Wendy and Lucy and I don’t remember the name of it. I think he made it for TV. It’s the story of a guy who pretends he goes to work every day but he’s really lost his job, and he doesn’t tell his wife. Instead of going to a job he goes out and spends money every day. You’re just with him as he’s getting deeper and deeper in debt. He keeps buying stuff to impress his wife so you know when the bottom falls out, his marriage will be going with it. As the film goes on, you take on his debt like it’s your own. I was trying to get at something like that with Wendy." – Kelly Reichardt in interview with Gus Van Sant

Part of our season on Kelly Reichardt