NY Times Critic’s Pick
Playing in theater and Virtual Cinema.
Directed by Victor Kossakovsky
The star of GUNDA may not be glamorous, but she will capture your heart. Her name (of German-Scandinavian derivation) means female warrior. “A prodigious pig, a one-legged chicken and a herd of lissome cattle are at the center of this extraordinary, palpably intimate look at the everyday lives of a group of animals. Working in black-and-white and with nimble, fluid cameras that sometimes skim the ground, the Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky shows a world that most people never notice or care to understand, one that respects other living creatures and sees, really sees, their distinct behaviors and relationships…” (Manohla Dargis, The New York Times) Executive produced by animal rights activist/actor Joaquin Phoenix, GUNDA is a love letter to the sentience of animals and “a landmark film from a bracingly original filmmaker.” (Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter)
Presented with support from the Richard Brick, Geri Ashur, and Sara Bershtel Fund for Social Justice Documentaries.
NORWAY / USA 2020 93 MINS. NEON
Virtual Cinema program supported by the Robert Gore Rifkind Foundation.
“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
“Pure cinema. This is a film to take a bath in — it’s stripped to its essential elements, without any interference. It’s what we should all aspire to as filmmakers and audiences — pictures and sound put together to tell a powerful and profound story without rush. It’s jaw dropping images and sound put together with the best ensemble cast and you have something more like a potion than a movie.”
– Paul Thomas Anderson
“VISIONARY. Hovers between non-fiction observation and lyrical insight, and to that end feels like an advancement of the nature documentary form.”
– Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“EXTRAORDINARY. The greatest of a strong roster of docs in both TIFF and NYFF.”
– Amy Taubin, Artforum
“EXTRAORDINARY. You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate the craft and the genuine poetic vision of a film which, though strictly unsentimental, is intensely moving, transfixing and quite genuinely unique.”
– Jonathan Romney, Screen International