Black and white documentary shot on farms explores 'animals as living, feeling beings in their own right'
Days before its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival, a trailer has been released for Victor Kossakovsky's documentary Gunda, a film that emphasizes the sentient nature of domesticated animals, including pigs, chickens and cows.
The film was shot in black and white on farms in Spain and the U.K., as well as in Norway where the director encountered a pregnant sow named Gunda. Much of the documentary centers on Gunda as she rears her large litter of piglets in and around a barn, who thrive under her patient attention.
I decided to make this film without any captions, voice-over, or music, you just need to watch it and allow yourself to feel.
--Gunda director Victory Kossakovsky
In a director's statement, Kossakovsky explained he has been hoping to embark on a documentary like Gunda for decades.
"I have always wanted to make a film about the creatures with whom we share the earth, a film about animals as living, feeling beings in their own right. I wanted to make a film without patronizing or humanizing them, without any sentimentality, and without vegan propaganda," the Russian-born filmmaker wrote. "Gunda... is an extraordinarily powerful character - you do not need an interpreter to understand her emotions and experiences. As such I decided to make this film without any captions, voice-over, or music, you just need to watch it and allow yourself to feel."
Gunda, Kossakovsky's follow up to his Oscar-shortlisted Aquarela, holds its world premiere Sunday, February 23) at the CinemaxX venue in Berlin, with follow up screenings on Monday, February 24 (Cubix venue), Friday, February 28 (Zoo Palast), and Sunday, March 1 (Urania).
Watch the trailer here:
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.