First Cow

Kelly Reichardt, USA 2019, 122’
David Byrne’s American Utopia Funny Face

Kelly Reichardt follows Robert Bresson’s example and makes her own version of Au Hasard Balthazar: instead of a donkey passed around from person to person, there’s a single cow—the first to appear in 19th-century Oregon. While its wealthy British owner needs only a splash of milk for his afternoon tea, a couple of itinerant hustlers, including a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) and a shy, aspiring baker named Cookie (John Magaro from Orange Is the New Black), have something a bit different in mind when they sneak up on the peaceful animal at night. Soon thereafter, trappers looking for a better life are lining up to sample their illegal baked goods. In the weirdest western of all time, which enchanted audiences at this year’s Berlin festival, Reichardt once again overwhelms viewers with the tenderness with which she treats her protagonists, including the slightly hairier ones, as she shows how the Wild West really was won—at times through force, at times through illicit cookies.

Marta Bałaga


Deauville FF 2020 - Jury Prize

Kelly Reichardt

One of America’s top contemporary directors, Kelly Reichardt is known for her minimalistic style. Born in Florida, her films have been shown at the world’s biggest festivals, including Venice, where the western Meek’s Cutoff, starring one of Reichardt’s favorite actresses, Michelle Williams, was an award winner.Her debut, River of Grass, was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award—like Wendy and Lucy, which also won a Palm Dog in Cannes for best performance by a canine in the festival’s official selection.

Selected filmography

1994 River of Grass

2008 Wendy i Lucy / Wendy and Lucy

2010 Meek’s Cutoff

2016 Kobiecy świat / Certain Women

2019 Pierwsza krowa / First Cow

Cast & Crew

director Kelly Reichardt
screenplay Kelly Reichardt, Jonathan Raymond
cinematography Christopher Blauvelt
editing Kelly Reichardt
music William Tyler
cast John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, Ewen Bremner, Manuel Rodriguez, krowa Evie
producer Neil Kopp, Vincent Savino, Anish Savjani
production A24, IAC Films, Film Science
sales A24
language English
coloration colour
stay in touch
festival partners