Talented but worried, a sculptor working in precarious conditions struggles to complete her works in time for her first exhibition. She also experiences various personal and family difficulties.
This is what is called a minimalist film. Take it or leave it. Part of the current of American independent cinema, Showing Up brings together for the fourth time Michelle Williams and Kelly Reichardt, one of the most celebrated filmmakers by critics. The interest of this feature film launched at the Cannes Film Festival last year, where it was in the running for the Palme d’Or, is also largely due to the presence of an exceptional actress who manages to modulate all the nuances of a character looking for his bearings.
Michelle Williams embodies this time an artist whose sculptures – all personifying women – visibly express various inner torments. Talented, but not yet recognized, Lizzy (whose works are created by the real sculptor Cynthia Lahti) is now busy finishing preparations for the opening of her very first exhibition. We feel that she puts all her soul into it and that her whole life is dedicated to her art.
Kelly Reichardt, who wrote the screenplay for her film with her lifelong accomplice Jonathan Raymond, paints the portrait of a modest artist, whose artistic gesture is so crucial to her survival that she hardly ever even wonders if she will be able to live from his art one day. The filmmaker thus brings daily life into Lizzy’s life, if only through the problems she experiences day to day or because of her interactions with those around her.
In this regard, let’s highlight the presence of Hong Chau (The Menu, The Whale), who plays an artist friend with whom the friendly relationship is however unbalanced because she is also the owner of the apartment without hot water occupied by Lizzy.
Iconic filmmaker from Portland, Oregon, Kelly Reichardt also imbues her story with the particular spirit in which this city bathes, especially since all of Lizzy’s family, her parents as well as her brother, come from the world of the arts.
In fact, Showing Up, playing in its original version with French subtitles, tells a story where art and life intertwine very discreetly. May be too much.