“Impressive and fragile portrait”
“Sophisticated scenes, natural acting”
Brady is a talented horse trainer and a rising star in the rodeo world. After falling during a rodeo he ends up in hospital with a serious head injury. When he returns home to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, he has firm instructions to take things easy.
But in the circle of macho cowboys in which he moves, it is difficult for him to admit that he may never be able to lead the life he had planned for himself. After all, are you still a cowboy if you can no longer ride?
While being an emotional drama about a young cowboy, The Rider is also a film with a documentary-like realism that offers the audience an insight into the world of Indian cowboys. In this film the actors play themselves. Brady really is a rodeo rider. Similarly, his father, younger sister and his paralysed friend Lane, once a famous bull-rider, play themselves. An impressive scene in which Brady tames a wild horse is filmed without any special-effect trickery. When the American-Chinese director Chloé Zhao met Brady on the Pine Ridge reservation while making a previous film, she instantly knew she wanted to make a film with him. One about the unique culture of the Indian cowboys who are direct descendants of the Sioux tribe.
The Rider was a great surprise at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017, where the film won the Art Cinema Award. Since then the film has won awards at many international festivals and is regarded as one of this year’s major discoveries. Werner Herzog: “Just when you think cinema is entering a phase of stagnation, out of nowhere comes The Rider. It’s very encouraging.”