Facets Cinémathèque

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March 25–31

Chicago Theatrical

River of Grass

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Film still: River of Grass Film still: River of Grass


New restoration!

Best First Feature
Best First Screenplay
Best Debut Performance
Independent Spirit
"A wry and telling account of the kind of folks most movies never reach"
  —TimeOut London
3 stars "[Kelly Reichardt] is easily one of our most important filmmakers, and it's interesting to see her start to play with themes in River she would later return to"
Recommended "A deadpan delight"
  —NewCity Chicago

Over the last two decades, Kelly Reichardt has established herself as one of the leading voices in US independent cinema with such films as Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, and Meek's Cutoff. Now, her rarely seen 1994 debut River of Grass, which Reichardt has described as "a road movie without the road, a love story without the love, and a crime story without the crime", returns to the screen in a brand new digital restoration.

Set in the area of southern Florida where Reichardt grew up, the swampy and sweltering suburbs of Broward and Dade counties, between Miami and the Everglades, River of Grass focuses on Cozy (Lisa Bowman), a middle-aged housewife who dreams of something beyond her monotonous existence. Hoping to spice things up, she goes for a night out at a local dive bar and meets brooding bad boy Lee Ray (played by indie legend Larry Fessenden). A night of heavy drinking that leads to a dip in a neighbor's swimming pool takes a turn for the worse when Cozy accidentally fires Lee Ray's gun at the unsuspecting homeowner, forcing the duo to take it on the lam. Deciding to embrace the outlaw life, this bumbling Bonnie and Clyde embark on a would-be crime spree that amounts to not much more than a few stolen records and a motel shootout with a cockroach, as their sluggish surroundings prove impossible to escape.

Filled with acerbic wit and deadpan humor, Reichardt's bleak depiction of the backwaters of a consumerist America stands as one of the best independent films of the nineties. Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive in conjunction with Oscilloscope Laboratories and Sundance Institute. (Toronto International Film Festival)

Directed by Kelly Reichardt, U.S.A., 1994, 81 mins.


  • Fri., Mar. 25 at 7 & 9 pm
  • Sat., Mar. 26 at 3, 5, 7 & 9 pm
  • Sun., Mar. 27 at 1, 3, 5 & 7 pm
  • Mon.–Thurs., Mar. 28–31 at 7 & 9 p.m.
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$10 general admission

$5 for Facets Members

The Facets Cinémathèque is located at 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. in Chicago. Call the Cinémathèque Hotline at 773.281.4114 for the latest schedule, showtimes and updates.

For all Cinémathèque inquiries, contact Charles Coleman at 773.281.9075 or

  • John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Artworks: National Endowment for the Arts
  • Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
  • Comer Family Foundation
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • Alphawood Foundation
  • Polk Bros. Foundation