Acclaimed filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky turns his eye to the daily life of a pig in cinema’s most affectionate portrait of farm life since Babe.
Gunda is the name of the oversized sow who lives on a Norwegian farm and has just given birth to a litter of piglets. Kossakovsky’s dialogue-free documentary, which journeys between farmyards in Norway, Britain and Spain – but resembling each other thanks to the crisp black and white cinematography of Egil Håskjold Larsen – steers clear of anthropomorphism. Instead, it presents a matter-of-fact account of life on a farm for the animals that populate it.
Considering the globe-trotting scale of his recent Aquarella, Gunda is a far more intimate affair. But it’s no less modest in its aim – to ask us to look anew at a familiar environment. With a supporting cast that includes two cows and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Gunda’s appeal lies in the way it allows us to connect with this world, earning our empathy whilst avoiding the mawkish sentimentality that undermines so many nature documentaries.