In this wordless doc, we get to know and love a mama pig named Gunda, who lives with her babes and some other livestock (specifically, cows and one-legged chicken) on a farm in Norway. The film projects us into their lives, experiences, and yes, emotions — so that we are, in effect, right beside them, seeing what they see. In the end, we feel newfound respect for these creatures, and perhaps more than a tinge of regret about where they usually end up.
Kossakovsky’s daring, miraculous film eschews the instructive language and gorgeous color photography of most animal docs, instead evoking a stripped-down, bird’s-eye view of a pig’s world on a farm. Shot up-close and in black-and-white, this subtle, gentle work of art sustains our interest and wonder for a full ninety minutes. Without hitting us over the head, it also makes an eloquent case that we should eat more vegetables. But you don’t need to be a vegetarian — or even an animal lover — to fall for “Gunda.”