Matias Meyer’s Wadley had it’s first screening as a part of Latinbeat ‘O8 last night at the Walter Reade. The film, following the wanderings of one man, has almost no dialogue. It begins on the outskirts of town with a kind of jerky, handheld realism and as the central figure wanders into a long, peyote-fueled desert sojourn, the film shifts in tone, visuals and sound.
“I wanted the film to be hypnotic,” said director Meyer during a Q & A after the screening. “You have to be patient with the film in the first 15-20 minutes and then I take you on a trip through the Mexican desert.”
The shooting of Wadley was a trip in more ways than one. Director Meyer and his small crew drove from Mexico City and spent four days shooting their 60 minute feature in the north central part of the Mexican desert. The consumption of small amounts of peyote figured into the creative process, the director said.
The town of Wadley sprang up around a train station established when the region was a boomtown for miners, the director explained. Now the place is a kind of a ghost town, the perfect point of departure for the main characters hallucinogenic ramblings.
The filmmaker’s collaborative approach to production and post-production produces some stark effects in the film, such as the haunting sound of a buzzing cicada that reoccurs throughout the film, and in striking photographic depictions of the natural landscape. Meyer explained that he presented his footage to a composer and sound designer and let them run with their inspiration. He credits his training as a photographer with this openness: “When you go out and observe, magical things happen.”
Wadley will screen at the Walter Reade on Sunday, September 14th at 1PM, and Wednesday, September 17th at 5:30 PM, as a part of Latinbeat, a month-long celebration of Latin American filmmaking.