Cover for Fusco: Kelly Reichardt. Click for larger image

Kelly Reichardt

Emergency and the everyday

Kelly Reichardt's 1994 debut River of Grass established her gift for a slow-paced realism that emphasizes the ongoing, everyday nature of emergency. Her work since then has communed with--yet remained apart from--postwar European realisms, the American avant-garde, independent film, and the emerging slow cinema movement.

Katherine Fusco and Nicole Seymour read such Reichardt films as Wendy and Lucy and Night Moves to consider the root that emergency shares with emergence--the slowly unfolding or the barely perceptible. They see Reichardt as a filmmaker preoccupied with how environmental and economic crises affect those living on society's fringes. Her spare plots and slow editing reveal an artist who recognizes that disasters are gradual, with effects experienced through duration rather than sudden shock.

Insightful and boldly argued, Kelly Reichardt is a long overdue portrait of a filmmaker who sees emergency not as a break from the everyday, but as a version of it.

"An engaging and thoughtful book. Fusco and Seymour persuasively use political theory and affect studies to analyze Reichardt's unique deployment of realist traditions and the politics of temporality in her films. The authors' striking insights illuminate the filmmaker's style and her importance not only in contemporary art and indie cinema spheres but for American cinema more broadly."—Elena Gorfinkel, coeditor of Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image


Katherine Fusco is an assistant professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is the author of Silent Film and U.S. Naturalist Literature: Time, Narrative, and Modernity. Nicole Seymour is an assistant professor of English at California State University, Fullerton. She is the author of Strange Natures: Futurity, Empathy, and the Queer Ecological Imagination.

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