DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Victor Kossakovsky - 2021

"Filthy genius movie"
In this beautiful documentary, Victor Kossakovsky offers us an insight into the workings of the everyday animal: a pig and her piglets - film exec produced by Joaquin Phoenix is on VoD on Monday, July 5th

One of the joys which documentaries provide too seldomly is the opportunity to see animals live out their lives with great dignity and humanity. Gunda excels at that particular task: The piglets and their mother, on whom the film is almost entirely dedicated to, are captured with tremendous detail, as attentive to the hay that sits as their home, to the sweet nothings that makes them connect as a family. I’ve never seen any film that details a pig barn with such tremendous affection, but Gunda also works on a technical level, and it’s all the better for it.

The film presents the family in crisp, clear monochrome, a dreamlike palette for the pigs to inhabit. It would be unfair to describe the film as black and white, or pixelated, as much of the imagery is ripe with timbre and texture. Opening on the central sow, the camera emerges to position the animal in the throes of good fortune. Behind her lies a passing sunlight; beneath her come the demanding mouths of hungry children. And yet for all that is growing, there is a stillness to the world, and the mother holds a vacancy that suggests an unease behind those stilted, starry eyes.

It’s like a painting, positing the pigs in a world where grass and gestures are the forefront to a work that presides in building up a world that’s tangible in its delivery. The camera enables viewers to peer into a world beyond the grasp of human touch. Then there’s the grunting, presented with hubristic care, demonstrating a language beyond the reaches of human translation. But in this world of fields, friendship and family, the noises hold contemplative, even transcendent properties, and the aesthete is all the more detailed for the added effect.

The action is mostly contained in one setting, but director Victor Kossakovsky brings enough variety to make sure that the runtime never seems laborious. Instead, we hang over the piglets, watching them feast as their mother watches them flourish. They rise and feed to the beat of the sun, as a beguiling, brooding rooster opens the kingdom up to the morning’s riches.

Forty minutes into the film, and we’re embraced with one of the most profoundly lyrical shots of the year. Leading her young through the forest, the sow takes a moment to reflect on their surroundings.There, the camera offers a long shot, of a family cast in the shadow of a forest rich with greenery. For it’s at that moment that the world, vast as it is, shows us our animals at their most magnetic, most magnificent, and most assuredly human.

Gunda is in cinemas on Friday, June 4th. On VoD on Monday, July 5th.

"Filthy genius movie"

By Eoghan Lyng - 08-06-2021

By Eoghan Lyng - 08-06-2021

Throughout a journey found through his own writings and the writings of other filmmakers, Eoghan has taken to the spirit of the surreal to find greater meaning from the real. He finds it far easier to...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

My Octopus Teacher

Pippa Ehrlich, James Reed

Agnieszka Piotrowska - 03-05-2021

A South African man who suffers a mid-life crisis rediscovering himself through his relationship with an octopus in a bay near Cape Town in South Africa - now on Netflix [Read More...]

Is 65 the new Jurassic Park?


Marina Hillquist - 28-03-2023

Marina Hillquist argues that the American sci-fi action thriller by the creators of A Quiet Place had the potential to unseat the monopoly of the Jurassic Park franchise, but it struggled to escape some familiar trappings [Read More...]

Riotsville USA

Sierra Pettengill

Eoghan Lyng - 28-03-2023

American documentary conducts a probing investigation into one of the USA's most shameful moments in history, the Vietnam War, offering few answers but many damning insights - in cinemas on Friday, March 31st [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *