First Cow

First Cow

"First Cow will be welcomed with five stars and cries of "Masterpiece! Masterpiece!" as Reichardt's sunniest and funniest film, but such truisms threaten to simplify the hard-edged nature of the film's unsentimental humor. It starts with textures — the soft fur of a fox tail, a bushy owl that takes ages to budge its head, an aphoristic phrase or two from Raymond (Reichardt's regular screenwriter)—before sliding into a Plot: two outsiders—one Chinese (Orion Lee), one white (John Magaro), both softies—need a place to rest their head for several nights (Old Joy territory) before they embark on an extraordinary American hustle as honey-glazed-biscuit bakers. At one point, the camera, in love with the kind of valueless minutiae that don't add up to blowout receipts at the box office, slips into Lee and Magaro's tent and we are made to sense the comfort of their makeshift mattress, cobbled together out of itchy, termite-infested beaver pelts."

I wrote about Kelly Reichardt in my latest column for the Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2020 issue—read on! I'm on page 80: gagosian.com/quarterly/2020/02/23/essay-world-according-kelly-reichardt/

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