Viktor Kossakovsky, director of the breakout hit documentary Gunda, speaks with Erin Wing, Animal Outlook’s deputy director of investigations about the making of the film, his childhood experiences that inspired him to stop eating animals when he was just four years old, and much more.
Experiential cinema in its purest form, Gunda chronicles the unfiltered lives of a mother pig, a flock of chickens and a herd of cows with masterful intimacy. Using stark, transcendent black and white cinematography and the farm’s ambient soundtrack, Kossakovsky invites the audience to slow down and experience life as his subjects do, taking in their world with a magical patience and an other worldly perspective. Gunda asks us to meditate on the mystery of animal consciousness, and reckon with the role humanity plays in it.
Gunda is a mesmerizing perspective on sentience within animal species, normally – and perhaps purposely – hidden from our view. Displays of pride and reverence, amusement and bliss at a pig’s inquisitive young; her panic, despair and utter defeat in the face of cruel trickery, are validations of just how similarly all species react and cope with events in our respective lives. Victor Kossakovsky has crafted a visceral meditation on existence that transcends the normal barriers that separate species. It is a film of profound importance and artistry.
–Joaquin Phoenix, Executive Producer
Gunda‘s recent release in select theaters nationwide and has brought rave reviews from The New York Times, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and many others:
This astonishing documentary offers an intimate look at the lives of a sow, her rambunctious piglets, a one-legged chicken and a herd of cows. Full review
–Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
Time flows slowly in this one-of-a-kind documentary feature, shot in luminous, almost magical-realist, black and white. Full review
–Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
Gunda: A wordless 90-minute animal movie of mind-blowing ordinariness – and a work of genius Full review
–Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian
From its opening minutes, Gunda appears before us in an expressive, detailed bath of black-and-white images, with every shot, even within Gunda’s barn, relying on natural light, and with no voiceovers or textual markers. Full review
–K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone