|Original soundtrack by Yo La Tengo
"A true American independent film" (Boston Globe), Kelly Reichardt's achingly exquisite Old Joy has been hailed at film festivals worldwide for its unparalleled beauty, profound insight into the human condition and transcendent, meditative narrative, creating "a shared adult experience of lost possibilities and present realities" (Entertainment Weekly).
Based on Jonathan Raymond’s short story and featuring a soundtrack from Yo La Tengo, Reichardt's second feature chronicles a short camping trip by two old friends to a quasi-mystical oasis, the Bagby Hot Springs, in Oregon’s lush Cascade Mountains. The actors in this Cain-Abel story are Kurt (cult musician Will Oldham), a post-hippie with never-present promise; and Mark (Daniel London), the father-to-be, intent on putting the Kurt part of his life behind him, but also silently nostalgic for a more carefree, radical past.
Far more than a lo-fi indie riff on Brokeback Mountain, the intricately layered Old Joy is in part an elegy for the '70s American cinematic revolution -- with shades of Easy Rider and the Oregon-shot Five Easy Pieces -- but also fits square into the minimalism of present-day arthouse cinema. A gorgeous nature film, Old Joy is sensatory and full of room for interpretation. Reichardt considers what it means to be free in Bush’s America, throws two kinds of individual freedom together, watches the muted sparks fly and hopes for common ground, creating "one of the finest American films of the year" (New York Times).