“I’m at Harvard now, and they’re, uh, they’re closing the campus, telling the kids not to come back after spring break.”

Four months ago, as the country realized its leaders had blown it with the global COVID-19 pandemic, I had director and screenwriter Kelly Reichardton the line to talk about “First Cow,” her wonderful film set in the wilds of an early 19th Century Columbia River settlement, in what is now Oregon.

It’s about two outsiders: one an Anglo cook, the other, an entrepreneural Chinese immigrant, and their unexpected success selling homemade “oily cakes.” The secret ingredient in those cakes, and the cow responsible for it, holds the key to this team’s future in a hostile new world. But secrets have a way of going public.

I love the film, as do many, and it was a particular bummer that Reichardt’s film, released by A24, opened in Chicago March 13,

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