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LRB Screen X MUBI: First Cow 12A

Screened in partnership with London Review of Books
Kelly Reichardt, USA, 2019, 122m.

LRB Screen, the London Review Bookshop’s long-running film series, continues its exploration of the art of literary-cinematic adaptation in partnership with MUBI.

We head west, next, for First Cow, an invigorating spin on US origin myths by the outstanding auteur-director Kelly Reichardt. Loosely adapted by Reichardt and her regular writing partner Jonathan Raymond from the latter’s 2004 novel The Half-Life, it maintains the luminously photographed but deliberately understated approach of her earlier, Oregon-set masterworks Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy, while developing the historical engagement she’d initiated with Meek’s Cutoff. Siding instinctively with working class figures and the socially, economically or ethnically marginalised, Reichardt’s 1820s buddy/road (or foot) movie pairs-up a former trapper and a Chinese fugitive, with a business plan to make mouthwatering cookies for frontier settlements. The recipe requires fresh milk, though, which the cow belonging to a pompous local bigwig the Chief Factor (Toby Jones) may just be able to provide...

We’re delighted to announce that our guest for the evening will be Kelly Reichardt’s regular collaborator, Jonathan Raymond, who co-wrote First Cow’s screenplay and is the author of the novel it is based on. He’ll introduce the film, and discuss it in a Q&A afterwards, via video link.

Toby Jones, Orion Lee, John Magaro

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