Last night I attended the special premiere of Kelly Reichardt’s film Showing Up. The film puts you into the everyday life of the sculptor played by Michelle Williams. The film takes you through the sculptor’s daily work and frustrations in an artists’ enclave in Portland including not having any hot water and forced to deal with an injured pigeon that her cat had played around with and she threw out the window to let it die outside. Lizzy (Williams) struggles to put the finishing touches on her latest pieces for a gallery show, all the while juggling admin work at the local art school; dealing with the neglect of her well-meaning landlord who also happens to be a rising-star conceptual artist; and tending to the emotional wellbeing of her challenging fragmented family. Cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt’s patient and steady camerawork, Reichardt ’s precisely considered editing, and Williams’s physically transformative performance come together to create a finely etched, at times humorous drama of the experience of being a creative person without leaning on the clichés that so often appear in films about artists.
The event opened with an hour long cocktail and finished with a chat between Kelly Reichardt and the iconic French actress Isabelle Huppert. A personal relationship exists between the director and the actress and actually Huppert’s son is a student in a workshop of Kelly Reichardt. Huppert asked questions about how the topography related to the scenario. It was rather amusing when Reichardt was thrown for a loop saying if this interview was in America the question would have been how was it working with Michelle Williams, a question she would be prepared to answer. The film opens in Paris May 3rd.