The Unknown Country

Morrisa Maltz, USA 2022, 85’
Polish premiere
Something in the Dirt The Year Between

A trip through post-Trump America, where the main character attempts to reinvent herself among the infinite open landscape. On the way, she meets people who only seemingly play a random role. The intimate film, reminiscent of Nomadland, premiered at this year’s South by Southwest.

To deem Morrisa Maltz a spiritual disciple of revered master Terrence Malick may seem too facile a reference. Still, the evident links are all there: she’s from Texas and made a movie that traverses the Badlands of South Dakota for her heroine to get back to “The Lone Star State.” But while the stirring visual fluidity of “The Unknown Country,” her first fiction feature and a kindhearted triumph, provides further arguments pointing to Malick likely being an influence, what distinguishes Maltz’s approximation to that style of evocatively loose filmmaking is that it’s grounded on the personal victories of real individuals. Based on that, she forges eclectic narrative devices for a tone poem with substantial dramatic meat on its bones.

‘The Unknown Country’ Review: A Stunning Spiritual Companion to Terrence Malick and ‘Nomadland' (

Magdalena Bartczak

Morrisa Maltz

Morrisa Maltz is an artist and filmmaker. She studied visual arts Columbia University. Her art, film, and performance work have been shown at MOCA, Los Angeles, as well as at the MCA, Santa Barbara and galleries internationally. Her first short film, The Caretaker, won best narrative short at LES Film Festival and in 2014 her short film, Odyssea, premiered at Slamdance film festival. Morrisa’s first feature documentary, Ingrid, was applauded as a 'festival gem' on the 2018 festival circuit and won several awards. Her first narrative feature, The Unknown Country, premiered at SXSW 2022. The film has been hailed by Indiewire as a stunning spiritual companion to Terrence Malick and Nomadland.


2013  The Caretaker (short, co-dir.)

2014  Odyssea (short)

2018  Ingrid (doc.)

2022  Nieznany kraj / The Unknown Country

Cast & Crew

director Morrisa Maltz
screenplay Lily Gladstone, Morrisa Maltz, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Vanara Taing
cinematography Andrew Hajek
editing Vanara Taing
music Samuel Jones, Alexis Marsh
cast Lily Gladstone, Raymond Lee, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Jasmine Shangreaux, Richard Ray Whitman
producer Katherine Harper, Laura Heberton, Thomas Heitkamp, Morrisa Maltz, Lainey Bearkiller Shangreaux, Vanara Taing
production Cold Iron Pictures
sales Laura Heberton
language English, Dakota
coloration colour
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