The results are spelled out. The film opens with Gunda Lounge (a favorite pastime) on Gunda’s bed, his body and head inside the enclosure trapped in the doorway. This is pig paradise. Kosakowski – who shared cinematography duties with Egil Haskjold Larsen – still has a long shot to admire its lapidary detail and structure symmetry. And then: action! As the camera pushes inside, a piglet about the size of one of Gunda’s ears rubs on his head with piping squeals and slides out onto the grass outside. And then, the elder Mama rhythmically tumbles into a second piglet, then another in his epic head and world.
Not much seems to go beyond speckles and adorbility. Yet the sparsity of the scene is misleading, which is true of the entire film. Newborns of any species are delightful, and piglets – in their tinniness and attractive incompatibility – prove to be natural-stealing sighters. Their shape helps pull you towards them and even causes you to fret. They are very young and their mother is very big, very big. Kosakowski may not be telling a clear story, but he is cinematically communicating oceans of meaning, using images to create cascading associations, beginning with a shot of a piglet emerging from the dark door , Which itself is the scene of birth.
You stay with Gunda and his Gullak for some time, during the quiet drama, blissful drama and nail biting tension. Kossakovsky spent several months shooting the film, so piggles grow by sprites, though never – meaningfully, as you discover – much larger. During pigs’ scenes, and even among free chickens, Kosakowski mostly keeps the camera at its height, rather than staring down. As the punk places its snout in the earth, you see how different the world is, the dirt itself looks from the Lilliputian angle of these creatures. These pictures testify that to be seen is, in fact, to be fully human, through the eyes of others, four-legged or otherwise.
Kossakovsky is not waving any flags, but “punk” is a reminder that resistance to showing animals in most films reflects how we now look at them, to borrow an idea Critic john berger. It also speaks of our reluctance to accept our misuse of other beings and, by extension, the natural world. For example, meat is terrifically easy to eat; In the developed world, this requires very little thought, effort, or money. It is more difficult and certainly more inconvenient to think of the violence inherent in its production, including environmental catastrophe. And so, far from the natural world, we largely classify animals as domesticated or meat.