Movie Diary 10/10/2018

The Rider (Chloe Zhao, 2018) and Songs My Brother Taught Me (Chloe Zhao, 2015). A mostly coincidental encounter with two features by a talented filmmaker. Both reflect a serious immersion in the cultures of the Badlands of South Dakota. Songs is set on the Pine Ridge Reservation and delves into the possibility of one restless Native teenager; one of the interesting things about the film is the way it toys with the convention of the young man who must leave his community and strike out for bigger things, except (the film hints) maybe that convention needs rehauling. The Rider uses a striking collection of non-actors to tell the story of an injured rodeo performer who may have to give up his dreams in that direction, but whose gift for training horses remains undiluted. The sequences of Brady Jandreau interacting with the horses are remarkable, and beyond the skills of an actor.

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