First Cow

Restrained drama by Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women, Wendy & Lucy) about two pioneers in 1820 Oregon who pursue the American Dream with their pastry trade.

Time & Tickets

At the beginning of the 19th century, fur trappers are not the only ones to venture into the wilds of Oregon; there’s also a taciturn cook, a loner who finds an able entrepreneur and friend in a Chinese immigrant. The two start a small trade in ‘oily cakes’, which turns out to be a great success in the rough West. The only catch: the raw material they use is acquired illegally.

Director Kelly Reichardt co-wrote the screenplay with Jonathan Raymond, author of the novel upon which the film is based. FIRST COW confirms her talent for telling stories of an America filled with promise, far from the big cities. Like a Western, the film pays tribute to characters on the margins of society who must take destiny into their own hands – only here, instead of guns, there’s a spoonful of honey and a pail of milk. Thus, these outlaws present the frontier not as a place of economic or material conquest, but as a meeting place. A splendid alternative scenario, which today acquires particular civil and political significance.

Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2019, 122 min. English spoken, Dutch subtitles. With John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Scott Shepherd.