Gunda – A Delicate, Yet Powerful Film

As my usual, I am coming late to the partay: I just found out these days that there is a new movie by film director Viktor Kossakovsky and the executive producer is (our beloved) Joaquin Phoenix: it is called Gunda, it has been presented at various Film Festivals around the globe and it was released on the 4th of June in the UK (16th April in the U.S.A.). Although, it was already presented at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020.

I just finished watching it and it is quite the vegan movie: it is heartbreakingly true and honest. It is delicate because it depicts the lives of farm animals in a fairly free environment; it is powerful because the film manages to show the animals in a fairly free environment and how they would behave if they were left alive. The black and white technique and absence of music make it possible to get a full immersion in the lives of these farm animals. But I don’t want to say too much in case you want to watch it.

From the official website, we read that

“Where his prior film, the acclaimed epic AQUARELA, was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in GUNDA, master filmmaker Viktor 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 movingly recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.”


And this is the trailer

Joaquin Phoenix and Victor Kossakovsky have partnered to make this film. Kossakovsky is vegan, and we know that Phoenix is a vegan and activist: with this, we can say that he shows how to use media to talk about the importance of going vegan. Read the interview with the two artists in the Los Angeles Times.

As we are already aware of how vocal is Joaquin about going vegan, I’ll share here the interview of Victor Kossakovsky for the New York Film Festival

Victor Kossakovsky on Gunda, Respecting Nature, and Filmmaking Ethics | NYFF58

Kossakovsky explains how Gunda is not vegan propaganda:

“filmmaking is a weapon a could make… I could make easily a monster of her and I can make angel. for example when she decided to kill her kid because she was not able…she knew he was weak that this kid was weak, she knew that this kid would not make it and as far as she didn’t have enough…how do you call it…nipples, right? she didn’t have enough milk so she suppose she knew she must make this decision. and if I were to make propaganda movie, “vegan propaganda” movie, I would cut it out, right, this episode, I will not show it because obvs it is controversial episode, right? Like, if you want to make people laugh here they probably will not show this, right? But I say I don’t do propaganda, I don’t do propaganda, this is… I’m not who I am to decide to… to judge her, I’m not there to judge.”

He also talks about human rights:

“We have been inventing horrible things [referring to nuclear weapons, torture, machine guns], we are like this. We are still not underst…we are still thinking, fighting about, we are still questioning like rights of people with god, we… what is this? we are still talking about it, we still not came to conclusion, we still talking about rights of women, rights of people with different sexual orientation. We still not decide at least we are not teaching a human.”

On the consciousness of killing animals:

“We will not make next step until we understand that to kill animal and to mistreat animal is the same as mistreat human and kill human, the same: it’s act of killing, nothing else. We allow ourselves to torture, to mistreat and to kill, we allow ourselves to do this. Doesn’t matter if it’s animal or human, we have to accept, we are able to do this, if we are able to do this then why are we surprised that there is still war, why are we surprised that they still fight in streets, why are we surprised. We… we know we are killing them, we know we are torturing them, we know we mistreat them and we do see and we play games that “we don’t know”: we eat every morning and we know it was just killed. we are killing three trillion fishes every year, we are killing one billion pigs every year, we are killing half-billion cows every year, billions, I’m talking. we are killing 50 billions chickens every year.”

On the criticisms of veganism because of religion or scientific reasons, he

“has bad news for both. If you believe in god, first of all, is written don’t kill and if you believe in god, you believe you have soul: in Gunda, you see she does have soul. But if you don’t believe in god, I also have bad news for you, because if you believe in evolution then evelution will not stop in human, then it will appear more cleaver creature more cleaver than human and might happen it will be more aggressive, might happen it will use our babies for Christmas parties to eat. just be careful. Let’s wake up, let’s respect nature.”

Kossakovsky also took the chance to point out the inequalities in the distribution of resources:

“Just let’s talk. and what we do: one billion people at the moment don’t have water, one billion people have no access to water at the same time we have one billion cows, which each of them needs 10 times more than human just to feed and to make produce for human. cows need more water than humans, we have one billion cows, but we have no water fr one billion people. And we have spent 10 times more water to produce meat.”

This film is really worth watching, so let me know if you have done it already or are you planning to.

Make the connection, go vegan.


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