Directed by Victor Kossakovsky
From 11th June 2021
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
It was a delight to view a film at Picturehouse for the first time since February last year.
Having lived and worked on a farm in my childhood and teenage years Gunda brought back many memories for me of my time then.
Russian director Victor Kossakovsky does not use any narration, music, subtitles or any humans in the film, shot in Norway in monochrome.
The only sounds you hear are the normal farmyard sounds. But you also hear the brief sound of thunder and resulting rain, which adds to the atmosphere of Gunda.
It is almost entirely centred on a sow and the birth and early life of her piglets.
The film is photographic in many ways. There are numerous scenes where the camera is focused on a particular behaviour of the animals in a certain location of the farm.
What is intriguing is how Kossakovsky and co-cinematographer Egil Haask Jold Larsen managed to get such intimate close-up shots of the animals going through their daily routines.
As well as the sow and her piglets, cows and chickens (including a one-legged specimen) are also depicted.
The 92 minute film has been assembled from only six hours of footage. Kossakovsky said: “I only press the button when I really, really need a particular shot.”