The seemingly unremarkable daily activities of a pig and other barnyard animals are endowed with unexpected drama and depth in this gorgeously filmed documentary.
While most nature documentaries focus on nature’s rarest creatures, the latest from documentarian Victor Kossakovsky (AQUARELA) trains its focus on animals with which most people likely consider themselves familiar: chickens, cows, and, most notably, pigs. In the film’s opening sequence, the titular sow gives birth to a litter of squealing piglets, and over the next several segments, Kossakovsky follows Gunda and her offspring as they begin to explore the world around them. Audiences accustomed to the cuddly, anthropomorphic barnyard animals in films like BABE and CHARLOTTE’S WEB may be startled to see pigs in a fresh light. The up-close, fine-grained detail of the film’s black and white images proves these creatures to be as complex and fascinating as their wild counterparts. Yet one is keenly aware that Gunda and her offspring are part of a man-made system of supply, and human intervention looms, unseen and mostly unheard, over the film like a specter. Without a hint of moralizing, Kossakovsky forces us to reconsider our relationship to the humble yet majestic creatures that we think of as food.
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