FIRST COW – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

It’s a simple story about friendship and hope. It’s a gently revisionist Western that literally pushes the clichés of the genre out the door in favor of reconsidering stereotypes of masculinity and reworking the fables of “frontiers.” It’s a softly savage deconstruction of the violence and the ironies of the American dream — of capitalism itself. It’s one of the most astonishing movies I’ve seen this year.

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Women at Melbourne International Film Festival – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

As the film festival world increasingly shifts to the domestic small screen as the most responsible way forward in the face of COVID-19, Melbourne International Film Festival has tackled the challenge head on. While still featuring an impressive 112 films – including 12 world premieres, 83 Australian premieres and 44 short films – MIFF has shifted its exhibition model by releasing the 2020 program not as the festival’s 69th edition, but under the more humble banner of MIFF 68½.

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FIRST COW – Review by Diane Carson

First Cow is a thoroughly absorbing story of atypical, three-dimensional characters. Director and co-writer (along with Raymond) Kelly Reichardt shows again an extraordinary ability to capture the look and feel of nineteenth century America, as she did in Meek’s Cutoff. Moreover, Reichardt doesn’t flinch from presenting the dirt and squalor, the struggle for the basics of food and shelter, and the violence barely suppressed and ready to erupt at any moment.

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FIRST COW – Review by Karen Gordon

Some movies deal with the settling of the American West as mythic. And then there are films like writer/director Kelly Reichardt’s First Cow, which strips it down to its basics for a more human scale and poetic vision of the Western era. Minus winners and losers, villains and heroes, this is a sparsely settled, muddy world where some people seek fortunes, and others do what they need day-to-day to survive.

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