Meek’s Cutoff and Wendy and Lucy director Kelly Reichardt has a talent for portraying the American working class experience through quiet, contemplative frontier dramas — letting humanity shine through the grim wilderness. Her latest film, First Cow, does that as well, but under the cover of a rather quirky premise: a cook and a refugee strike up a close friendship and an unusual business deal by stealing milk from a cow. It sounds like the set-up for a joke, but it is in fact the foundation for one of the most lovely and tender portrayals of male friendship in some time. Watch the First Cow trailer below.
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Her films might not blare “it’s the economy, stupid,” but make no bones about it – Kelly Reichardt’s cinema frequently obsesses over how the mechanics of commercial arrangements affect interpersonal relationships. Though micro in scale, her films are macro in mindset. Her latest look at the subject, First Cow, goes all the way back to the fledgling days of American capitalism. The film finds an effective and ultimately touching contrast between the friendships born of enterprising businessmen and the ruthlessness of competing with entrenched elites.
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I’ve heard from many a festival-goer that it’s possible to work through the entire New York Film Festival lineup – or at least its premier section, the Main Slate – given how the event spreads out manageably over the course of seventeen days all at Lincoln Center. But with schedule conflicts or lack of interest in certain titles, it’s a feat seldom seen or accomplished. Or, maybe given how gluttonous I feel after having done this myself, people choose not to brag about it if they do manage to pull it off.
While battling fatigue as well as exhaustion, plus countless instances of doubting if this was something I actually wanted to do, I managed to see all 29 films programmed in this year’s NYFF Main Slate. (If you’re the ranking type, I did just that over on Letterboxd.) I learned plenty about myself and some masochistic moviegoing habits after subjecting myself to this marathon of viewing contemporary cinema, but that’s a subject for another piece. It’s impossible to watch this incredible selection of films from across the globe and not have some larger takeaways about trends, patterns and parallels. Here are ten lessons from surveying the Main Slate in its entirety. Read More »
As we head into the second week of the 57th annual New York Film Festival, let’s look back at the best that week 1 of the festival had to offer us.
The prestigious film festival kicked off on a strong note with Martin Scorsese’s latest mob masterpiece, The Irishman, and only kept it up from there. Nadav Lapid‘s maddening Israeli-French immigrant drama Synonyms confused but impressed, while Kelly Reichardt’s offbeat and tender frontier drama First Cow has a very good cow. Dive into our New York Film Festival 2019 Week 1 recap.
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In my six years of attending the New York Film Festival, I’ve grown increasingly appreciative of the unique position its organizers have carved out in the fall festival landscape. Ideally timed between the premiere frenzy of late August/early September and the mad dash for awards of November and December, NYFF keeps its focus solely on the films and their creators. For 17 days, the newly-branded Film at Lincoln Center invites New Yorkers to partake in a manageable, curated slate of favorites from across the global festival circuit. The 2019 edition of NYFF casts a particularly wide net, too — apart from the festival’s three big Friday night galas, the Main Slate features only one English-language feature.
But if you’re not going to be in New York to see these films, why not use the time to catch up on the back catalogues of the directors in the NYFF selection? This year’s Main Slate features both emerging international voices and widely recognized masters alike, presenting a unique opportunity to broaden your cinematic horizons. Below are ten films playing at the festival (some of which I’ve been fortunate enough to see prior to NYFF’s official kickoff) and ten films you can watch to prepare yourself from the comfort of your own home. Read More »