Andrea Arnold is undoubtedly one of the greatest living British filmmakers. While she has always been brimming with ideas and opinions, the Dartford native has been on a long journey since her time as a host on Number 73. However, it was clear from her Oscar-winning short Wasp and feature debut Red Road that she was a director with an enormous amount of talent. She takes a different tack in her first documentary, Cow.
Arnold has wanted to make a film about an animal for years, eventually settling on one of our bovine cousins. Thirty days of filming took place over the course of several years, documenting the ups, down and daily routines in the life of one cow, Luma. Trying to capture what it’s like to be livestock. To be an animal purely bred for milk production, reproduction, leather and meat. The result is the rather unusual Cow.
While Cow won’t be for everyone, it’s a fascinating glimpse of what it might be like to live in captivity. You might be thinking that simply observing a domesticated animal for ninety minutes would be boring, but you find yourself becoming attuned to her rhythms. Becoming aware of aspects of her personality which would otherwise go unnoticed. As humans, we take our food for granted, but as Cow demonstrates just because an animal is bred for a purpose doesn’t mean they aren’t unique.
Cow will open in UK & Irish cinemas on 14 January and then stream exclusively on MUBI from 11 February.