Gunda (NYFF 2020); Grade: D+
Strictly Films welcomes you back to more coverage of this years 2020 New York Film Festival! Our next film on the block: Gunda!
Gunda is the newest edition to the Neon Rated documentary family. A documentary in which features a mother Pig and their children, Chickens, and Cows. In this documentary we go through life of these farm animals, mainly the Pig family, as we come to realize life for these animals is purely black and white... Not because the film is shot in black and white, metaphorically speaking as well.
Let's go through the positives first. I felt the film making of this film is on par with other Neon Rated documentary films. I admire the fact Neon Rated wants to be unique with these documentary films, as the way they’re shot never really feel like you're watching a documentary film. The film is shot simply in black and white, as the film feels completely wholesome and genuine while watching.
There is a couple interesting animal moments in this film. I found the whole pregnancy process of the pig to be fascinating, as I didn't know they could produce that many pigs. The one-legged chicken moment was extremely cool, the level of balance that chicken has to stand tall was impressive. Lastly the mother pig accidentally stomping on it's young... I mean DAMN. Lastly the way this film was shot, made clear sense what the film maker was trying say, as it shows in that emotional conclusion.
When I saw the Neon Rated logo in the beginning, I was honestly very hyped as I didn't know that film company worked on this. So I did assumed this was going to be straight fire. When thinking about Gunda, I think of March of the Penguins and Nature shows. What's the difference between Gunda and those two? Well Gunda doesn't have a wise narrator that has major swag... But also Gunda barely has much excitement, joy, or even fascination while watching it. Gunda honestly felt like pure torture for me.
Don't get me wrong Gunda is far from being a bad film, it has redeemable qualities and has something to say. But the most unfortunate thing is this film is EXTREMELY BORING. To prevent myself from losing my mind, I had to keep myself entertained by trying to find some kind of activity to be involved in. For example when the cows were shown, I was trying to figure out if the cow with the horns is a bull or still a cow, while also discovering one cow is a brown and white cow, due to the shading of the black and white picture... This is the level of boredom I was at. It's really just farm animals walking around and doing nothing... I mean NOTHING!
This film's running time is 90 minutes, as short as that is... It's brutally painful for 90 minutes. Like earlier this year with The Assistant, these films are better suited as short films, than featured length films. At least with The Assistant sometimes things were going on during the duration of the movie. With Gunda... Nothing is going on, till the hour and twenty minute mark. Why exactly are there Chickens and Cows featured in this film, if they're only going to be shown once and not be brought up again?! The whole Cow sequence made absolutely no sense to put in, as it features absolutely nothing engaging about it. At least with the Chickens you have the one-legged chicken, but the Cows... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!
With the Pigs alone I say it would be ok for a seventy minute picture, they should be the only main focus in this film. But even then the Pigs are extremely boring as well. What pisses me off the most is this film maker really stretches out sequences, that absolutely does not need to be shown more than a few minutes... But he likes to make it twenty minutes at least. I mean the freaking conclusion takes FOREVER, as I'm yelling at my TV "JUST END IT ALREADY!" I would've been fine if he cut to black, when the pig looks at the camera pissed off, but unfortunately that's not good enough as the film maker stretches it out for another five minutes.
I really wanted to like this film, especially since it comes from Neon Rated, whom is a company that is well known for this source of material. But unfortunately it's by far the worst documentary they've ever put out and by far the worst film in their catalog: I'm extremely pissed, I missed the Celtics playoff game for this crap.
Overall, Gunda is crap. I don't recommend this film, it felt like a waste of time for me. If you're a vegan and are going to have a debate with a carnivore... Do not use this film as an example for your point of view, because the carnivore is going to destroy you... I'm just saying. -Mitch Smietana