Where his prior documentary Aquarela was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in Gunda, Victor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life, and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.
National Jury's motivation: Gunda is one of those rare documentaries that makes you see the world in a new light. Director Victor Kossakovsky brings us out of the human perspective and into an animal world that follows a different logic and slower rhythm. Here we meet Gunda, who lives on Grøstad farm in Vestfold with her piglets. In this idyllic existence, the omnipresent brutality in nature is still prominent. A one-legged chicken and a stoic herd of cows serve as the other main characters in a film that is humble towards the animals, but still has a distinct political sting in the tail. Egil Håskjold Larsen’s sharp, poetic images help to make Gunda a great cinematic experience.