South of Reno

Director: Mark Rezyka
Screenwriters: Mark Rezyka

Institute History

  • 1988 Sundance Film Festival


Described by critic Annette Insdorf as a cross between Blood Simple and Being There, Mark Rezyka’s South of Reno is a stark, beautiful, and quite funny portrait of the denizens populating the southern Nevada desert, their reveries, obsessions and nightmares.

Martin (Jeffrey Osterhage) is a wide-eyed dreamer paralyzed by the desolation that surrounds him. His sense of self is ebbing away while his buxom wife pursues an affair with the local bully. As Martin idles away his life in fantasies (including one nifty sequence involving Christmas tree lights), South of Reno becomes an allegory about the alienated inertia of television culture; even adultery and murder can’t get Martin’s blood racing. With heroic desperation, he manages one last gasp of self-determination and, in the process, is liberated from psychological paralysis.

— Tony Safford

Screening Details

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