‘Lean on Pete’ and ‘The Rider’: Two Bold Westerns Show What Foreign-Born Directors Can Bring to the Genre

‘Lean on Pete’ and ‘The Rider’: Two Bold Westerns Show What Foreign-Born Directors Can Bring to the Genre
The best Westerns often come from outsiders. Fred Zinnemann’s Oscar-winner “High Noon,” Fritz Lang’s “Rancho Notorious,” William Wyler’s “The Big Country,” Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas” — all from Germans and Austrians. And of course, Sergio Leone’s classics starring Clint Eastwood were filmed by an Italian in Spain.

Now we can add U.K. filmmaker Andrew Haigh and China-born Chloé Zhao to their number. Neither set out to comment on classic western genre tropes with “Lean on Pete” (A24) and “The Rider” (Sony Pictures Classics), both of which earned raves on the festival circuit before hitting theaters this month. They shot in the badlands of Colorado and South Dakota, respectively. And both filmmakers explore the relationship between young men, their horses, and the nature that surrounds them. (Their distributors are slowly rolling them out across the heartland.)

The Rider

New Yorker Zhao shot her 2013 documentary “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” in South Dakota.
See full article at Thompson on Hollywood »

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