First Cow

Kelly Reichardt
United States 2019
122 min

Long-term collaborators Kelly Reichardt and Jonathan Reymond create a superb screen adaptation of Raymond’s novel “The Half Life”. This compelling tale is composed with extraordinary elegance and a poetic sensitivity to the American landscape, one of the director’s indisputable talents that we have already experienced in several films. But this setting is hardly hospitable, inhabited by hungry adventurers and greedy capitalists, somewhere in Oregon, around the year 1820. After certain misadventures as a cook for a group of fur trappers, Cookie crosses paths with a travelling Chinese worker called King-Lu, whose previous encounters have also been unlucky. They too dream of making a fortune and the opportunity presents itself for them with the arrival of a cow, probably the only one in the region, at the farm of a rich Englishman. The two set up a biscuit business, which is an immediate success at the local market, with the secret recipe drawing on milk stolen by night from the charming cow. In this extraordinarily engaging and entertaining story, the cruelty endured by workers, migrants, and indigenous is tempered by the bond between the two protagonists, the only ones capable of making virtue out of necessity. In the prelude to the film, a girl walking with her dog happens to find two skeletons hugging each other. It is ultimately a story of friendship. (Eva Sangiorgi)

Kelly Reichardt: RIVER OF GRASS (1994), ODE (1999, K), THEN A YEAR (2001, K), OLD JOY (2006), WENDY AND LUCY (2008), MEEK’S CUTOFF (2010), NIGHT MOVES (2013), CERTAIN WOMEN (2016), OWL (2019, K)

  • John Magaro - Cookie Figowitz
  • Orion Lee - King-Lu
  • Toby Jones - Englishman, Chief Factor
  • Ewen Bremner - Lloyd
  • Scott Shepherd - Captain
  • Lily Gladstone - Englishman's wife
  • Kelly Reichardt
  • Christopher Blauvelt
  • Christian Dolan
  • Kelly Reichardt
  • William Tyler
  • Anthony Gasparro
  • April Napier
Filmscience, A24


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