ODE By Kelly Reichardt

Introduced by Elena Gorfinkel


August 28th, 2011

Based on Herman Raucher’s novel and screenplay (themselves based on Bobbie Gentry’s song), Reichardt updates the narrative to the late 1990s and refocuses the theme to one of repressed gay sexuality. ODE (and two shorts which are currently officially unavailable) was made after Reichardt’s first feature, RIVER OF GRASS (1996), while she was trying to secure funding for her next film, OLD JOY (2006).”Fleshed out by the languorous performances of Heather Gottlieb and Kevin Poole and keyed to a languid soundtrack by Will Oldham, ODE’s chronicle of dim repression and dusky sexuality haunts its Southern landscape.” (Pacific Film Archive)

“Based on Herman Raucher’s Ode to Billie Joe, which was inspired by Bobbie Gentry’s hit song of the same name, ODE forms a link between Reichardt’s debut RIVER OF GRASS and the better known OLD JOY. While trying to scrape together funds to make another feature film, Reichardt enlisted the help of her friend Susan Stover to make this Super 8-shot account of the legendary Billy Joe McAllister, who jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge in Mississippi in the 1960s. Transposing this Southern Gothic tale to the present day, ODE takes an unadorned yet lyrical approach to its exploration of gay sexual repression and teenage suicide.” (Ontario Cinematheque)

ODE (1999, 48 mins, color, video – shot on Super-8mm),
Directed by Kelly Reichardt and produced by Susan Stover.
Featuring Kevin Poole, Heather Gottlieb, and Jon Wurster.

Elena Gorfinkel is Assistant Professor in Art History & Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. With John David Rhodes, she has edited Taking Place: Location and the Moving Image (University of Minnesota Press, Nov 2011). Her writing on cult, experimental and art films, cinephilia, women’s filmmaking and corporeal cinema has appeared in Framework, Cineaste, World Picture, Electric Sheep, Camera Obscura (forthcoming) and in several edited collections. She is currently writing a book about 1960s sexploitation films.

Filed under: film, video