First Cow

Kelly Reichardt

IFFR 2021

Robby Müller Award
  • 122'
  • USA
  • 2019

“If this was a place for cows, God would have put ’em here”, a scruffy cowboy in 1820s Oregon grumbles. But this doesn’t stop a rich Englishman from having one such beast shipped over. The animal becomes the focus of a blossoming friendship between Cookie, the timid cook for a group of rough-and-ready trappers, and Chinese immigrant King-Lu. They secretly slip out at night to milk it, and Cookie uses the stolen milk to bake incredibly popular pastries. It looks like the modest dreams of these two marginalised characters might just be inching within reach.

Kelly Reichardt gave us a refreshing take on the western genre with Meek’s Cutoff (IFFR 2011). As thoughtfully as ever, she undertakes an equally subtle piece of revisionism in First Cow. By placing her focus on friendship rather than strife, on the power of the domestic, and on the diversity of the American frontier. Because there is more – much more – here than just the classic distinction between those in black cowboy hats, and those in white.

Also see Big Talk: Kelly Reichardt. Winner Robby Müller Award, IFFR 2021

Director
Kelly Reichardt
Country of production
USA
Production Year
2019
Festival Edition
IFFR 2021
Length
122'
Medium
DCP
Language
English
Producers
Neil Kopp, Anish Savjani, Vincent Savino
Production Company
filmscience
Sales
A24
Screenplay
Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt
Cinematography
Christopher Blauvelt
Editor
Kelly Reichardt
Production Design
Anthony Gasparro
Music
William Tyler
Cast
John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner , Scott Shepherd, Gary Farmer, Lily Gladstone