“First Cow”: “Basically, it is a film about friendship” – Kelly Reichardt

«First Cow»: «Fondamentalement, c’est un film sur l’amitié» - Kelly Reichardt

The most prominent filmmakers in independent american sign “First Cow”, presented last year at the Festival of Telluride, and then at the Berlinale. Interrupted by the pandemic COVID-19 last march, the release of the film was done on Friday, and Kelly Reichardt has agreed to talk about his approach.

“First Cow”, it is the story of two men, Cookie Figowitz (John Magaro) and King Lu (Orion Lee), in Oregon in 1820. The first is a chef for trappers. The second, an emigrant chinese, just killed a man. “It’s been several years that I think fit The “Half-Life”, [the novel by Jonathan Raymond, editor’s NOTE]. We have talked at length about all the two. I was attracted by the character of Cookie, the same one that King Lu was composed of two characters in the novel, the friendship between the two men as well as by a review of the America corporate.”

“We have maintained the themes and the characters in the novel, but we have made some changes. There is no cow, for example. So we had to develop a new way to explore certain themes, she indicated to the QMI Agency. Because Cookie and King Read start to steal the milk of the cow of the Chief Factor (Toby Jones), a rich British, in order to make cash to donuts that they will sell then.

“I do not seek anything specific [when I read a novel, or a novel I want to adapt]. I have been working with Jonathan Raymond for several feature films and we are friends, we talk regularly of the projects that we want to achieve.”


“I am attracted to the way in which people function in their environment. If there is a good mesh possible [of the protagonists] with their daily struggles, sometimes it is things on a small scale, such as, for example, study the way in which a community will forge ties”, she said.

Kelly Reichardt has drawn some of its inspiration in “Ugetsu” Japanese Kenji Mizoguchi, as well as in the “Apu Trilogy” by Satyajit Ray. Without compare “First Cow” in these works, it was emphasized that it is “for intimate venues. I like the way the camera Satyajit Ray is to the ground, trying to follow the characters in their daily actions. It also has a very economical turn of scenes of peasant life in India. It is something very simple, which has a beauty minimalist. The history is incorporated into each plan, including the manner in which the camera moves. The spirit of his films may not be copied, we can simply take inspiration from them.”

The landscapes of forest, “everything is in height, horizontal” drive to choose a format four thirds. The paintings of Frederic Remington the have referred on the colors. And the music of William Tyler comes in support of certain actions. “Basically, it is a film on friendship,” pointed out Kelly Reichardt. But the director agrees that the purpose of the “First Cow” is also relevant, even in this period of pandemic and quarantine renewed in the United States.

“Yes, the film is also a story of emigration. So there are themes that echo what is happening today. I don’t know if I am already able to talk about what is happening, understand the reality, but yes, [the film deals] things with which people have struggled in this time.”

“When we speak of the trade of the skins of beaver, in the area that is now Portland, Oregon, in the character of Chief Factor is to model the officers of the Hudson Bay and other companies that were started in this trade. This character speaks of the exploitation of the land and the way of life of the inhabitants will be greatly affected.”

  • “First Cow” took the shows in Quebec city on Friday.
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