Food for thought about food

An experiential exploration of the lives of a mother pig named Gunda and her barnyard mates, a one-legged chicken and a few beef cattle.

Russian Documentarian Viktor Kosakovskiy has created something entirely unprecedented, a uniquely beautiful and dramatic meditation on the consciousness of the animals that are destined to become our food.

Critically acclaimed but a likely source of puzzlement for the megaplex crowd, it starts off with Gunda birthing a slew of piglets, which we watch develop into adolescence. Banal? Maybe. But keep watching, and at some point you will realize that this unsentimental yet profoundly moving work has got under your skin, and you won’t know how.

There are no explanations, no dialog save for grunts, snorts and background farmyard sounds, as Kosakovskiy makes mesmerizing use of black-and-white textures, light and shapes.

It didn’t turn me into a vegan. But I will henceforth have a thought, an awareness, or maybe even a note of thanks at mealtimes. (93 min)