Kelly Reichardt’s newest film First Cow is her second feature, after Wendy and Lucy (2008), to explore the effects of capitalism through character’s relationship with an animal. In this episode, we discuss the connections between the two films (and animals).
This episode of the podcast features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, Associate Editor Brett Pardy, and Roads to Nowhere contributor Angelo Muredda (@amuredda)
Wendy and Lucy (2008)
Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy is full of ephemeral moments of connection, even if Wendy spends most of the film isolated from both emotional and financial support. Her story is all the more heartbreaking because Reichardt shows us how much of a balm these liminal moments of solidarity are, before demonstrating why they’re unsustainable. Reichardt establishes Wendy (Michelle Williams) as a woman without any form of support, save for the companionship of her dog, Lucy, and the shelter of her car, which allows her to travel safely toward promised work in Alaska without paying for transport or a place to sleep.
Read more of Angelo’s essay “No fixed address: Ephemeral connections in Wendy and Lucy” in Roads to Nowhere
First Cow (2019)
Kelly Reichardt’s latest film, First Cow (2019),follows two men searching for a better life elsewhere that’s always just slightly out of reach. Cookie Figowitz (John Magaro) and King-Lu (Orion Lee) live in 19th-century Oregon, but the film begins in the present day with a wordless prologue. A woman (Alia Shawkat) and her dog wander the Oregon woodland and uncover the skeletons of two men lying side by side in the dirt. These, we later presume, are Cookie and King-Lu; the film follows their sweet, burgeoning friendship and their quest to fulfill modest dreams, while the spectre of death hangs over their heads.
Show notes on Wendy and Lucy & First Cow
- View our in-depth introduction to Kelly Reichardt and her films
- Purchase your copy of our newest ebook to discover how modern master Kelly Reichardt operates, and to read a series of essays about each of Reichardt’s films, which examine her thoughtful, quiet portraits of everyday lives.
- Read a free chapter from Roads To Nowhere, featuring an interview with Lily Gladstone
- Purchase your Kelly Reichardt mug
Listen to Our Other Podcasts on Kelly Reichardt’s Films
- Ep. 47: Roads to Nowhere ebook Preview
- Ep. 37: Subverting the Western Featuring Meek’s Cutoff
- Ep. 25: Kelly Reichardt’s Old Joy and Night Moves