First Cow

First Cow ★★★★½

Reichardt has seem to have unlocked the precious, underestimated perception that cinematic, compassionate storytelling isn't bound to ordinary theatricality in order to be both about something and naturally engaging. It's not like this is shy about its subtext of chronic proletarian struggle, class solidarity and a bit of natural resource economics, but it's still very much, and quietly so, about two people, a cow and some oily cakes. The importance of the patient direction, with its mainly static, (apparently) naturally-lit compositions, and the meticulous, yet restrained production design can't be overstated in a project like this. I'd be lying if I said I caught the Varda inspiration right away, but it's definitely well earned.

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