Gunda ★★★★

Stunningly shot in monochrome on a Norwegian farm, Gunda is an impressive unnarrated documentary that quietly observes farm animals' daily lives. Its soundtrack consists entirely of sounds emitted by the animals plus a few ambient noises. It is principally devoted to tracking the appellative pig and her playful piglets, with a supporting cast that includes a herd of cows and a flock of chickens, all of whom look magnificent. 

Cinematographer Egil Håskjold Larsen shoots the animals in a manner that's typically assigned for actors and Russian director Victor Kossakovsky, who also co-wrote (along with Ainara Vera), transforms a barnyard into a place that's full of surprises. The camera remains at a low level, and slow-motion is used to hypnotic effect; it helps create a poetic and timeless sensation descend upon the film as it provides a unique look and experience from the animal's perspective. 

Neatly divided into chapters, it introduces each species one by one with mesmerising cinematography featuring fluctuating textures and beautiful interplays of light and shadow. It's a breathtaking denunciation of anthropocentric attitudes—an arrogant belief that expresses the idea that humans are of paramount importance, and other species only matter if they are considered beneficial. 

Watching Gunda is a meditative experience and stoutly underlines animals entitlement for respect. It furthermore communicates for all animals together with their incontestable capabilities to feel and experience emotions such as joy, pleasure, pain and fear.

Paul Elliott liked these reviews