Scarcity is a defining logic and theme of Reichardt’s films, equally expressed in their carefully distilled stories as in the modest productions that resourcefully glean complex meaning from each measured performance and location. Wendy and Lucy is exemplary here for its transformation of a streamlined narrative (adapted from a Jon Raymond story) of a young woman and her dog into a vivid portrait of post-Katrina America that soberly contemplates the fine and frightening line between barely getting by and dire poverty. The well-deserved critical acclaim that greeted Reichardt’s minimal masterpiece was helped, no doubt, by the presence of a deglamorized Michelle Williams in an admirably understated turn as the proud Wendy, who is convinced, despite many signs to the contrary, that a new future lies in her waylaid and increasingly difficult journey to Alaska and the promise of a cannery job. The presence, and sudden absence, of Wendy’s dog, Lucy—Reichardt’s own beloved pet—becomes a poignant test of Wendy’s resolve. A high point of Reichardt’s career, Wendy and Lucy also stands as a defining work of the neo-realist filmmaking that transformed American independent cinema in the early 2000s.