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Little White Lies

Little White Lies

Issue 89: May/June/July 2021
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The freshest and most credible voice in film, LWLies is the world's most stunning film source. Honest, unmerciful, relevant - and always beautiful.

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United Kingdom
The Church of London
6 Issues

in this issue

7 min.
first cow

In the year of our Lord 2008, I was a victim of subtweeting before the term had entered into the popular lexicon. For those who remain blissfully unaware of the word’s origins, it’s essentially a form of stealth criticism whereby one is called out for an opinion or action taken, but remains unnamed, allowing for a level of “blind item” anonymity to those not in the know. As a wide-eyed journalistic lickspittle, I had been commissioned to review the film Wendy and Lucy by the director Kelly Reichardt for the pages of hallowed arts listing organ, Time Out London. At that time, and under the auspices of a, shall we say, “wacky” new editor-in-chief, Time Out no longer rated art out of the traditional five stars. Now things were out of…

10 min.
horizon’s west

It’s a truism to say that some films just grow on you, but Kelly Reichardt’s body of work does this in the most generative way. After watching her movies, they linger for days, not just growing but seeming to germinate inside you. Images that were quietly affecting at the time of viewing evolve into something unbearably poignant. They become burnished on the mind’s eye: a pioneer woman, fixing her crinkled expression toward a bleakly uncertain middle distance in her 2010 western Meek’s Cutoff; a dark-eyed Native American rancher, tenacious and tender, in 2016’s quietly political Certain Women (2016); 2006’s Old Joy and its two unshaven young men sitting in a diner in the leafy Pacific Northwest. And then there’s the sight of a pair of intact human skeletons, close to one…

8 min.
dear jon

Jon Raymond is fond of a tangent. At one point in our conversation, he tells me about the recent trend in the US of Sikh drivers taking up long-haul trucking and completely transforming the industry. “Sorry, I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this,” he laughs. “People don’t often ask!” The author and screenwriter from Portland, Oregon has rarely been interviewed in the years since his debut novel ‘The Half-Life’ was published in 2004, a book he followed with a short story collection and several screenplays written for – and with – the filmmaker Kelly Reichardt. Their stories are embedded in the Oregon landscape, attuned to the movements of the region (and the truckers passing through). From page to screen, the line at which Raymond’s work ends and…

7 min.
will power

Will Oldham has been putting out music for the best part of 30 years, most often under the stage name Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. In that time he’s also appeared in a number of indie films (this despite his apparent apathy towards acting), popping up in Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy in 1999 before making the step up to leading man for Kelly Reichardt’s soulful two-hander Old Joy in 2006. A true polymath whose innate wanderlust and creative curiosity make him impossible to pigeonhole, Oldham has most recently reteamed with guitarist Matt Sweeney on ‘Superwolves’, the duo’s long-awaited follow-up to their cult 2005 LP ‘Superwolf’, once again blending rootsy blues rock with introspective, homespun Americana. LWLies: When did you first meet Kelly? Oldham: I think we met through Alan Licht. He’s a musician and…

7 min.
chirp thrills

Twenty seven metres underground, beneath one of the world’s busiest urban centres, is not the place you would stop to listen to birds singing. It was November 2019 and I was in Tokyo producing a podcast about legendary animation house Studio Ghibli. While waiting for a train to take me out of the city and into nature, I could hear nature chirping its way into the depths of the infamously labyrinthine Shinjuku station. Studio Ghibli’s films compel us to recognise the everyday magic of the natural world – stories like Whisper of the Heart and Spirited Away weave together florid enchantment and banal reality, and here I was getting a warble of that magic while standing under thousands of tonnes of concrete. I spotted the speaker system from which the noise…

8 min.
the sky is not the limit

Ajet blue colour block is split down the middle by two vapour trails; a canvas of cream-coloured clouds morph and mutate, swallowing up the edges of the frame; swollen rainy grey storm clouds slide by angrily, looking near ready to burst. These are the first three skies seen in James Benning’s 2004 film Ten Skies, after which seven more follow in a film that sees the famed avant-garde filmmaker select ten aerial views in areas around his Los Angeles home and filming them in static takes that run for exactly 10 minutes each – the length of a single 400ft roll of 16mm film. Having made films for more than five decades, James Benning is one of the most well-regarded avant-garde filmmakers of all time, known for his mostly slow, static…