As human beings we’re programmed to long for companionship. Now, that naturally comes from within our own species, but I’m sure no one really needs a biology lesson. However, unless you live in certain states of America, that is very different to the love and affection pets can give us. Whether that the sloppy and demanding unconditional live of a dog or the more tactical and tactile acceptance offered to us by a feline.

When it comes to the relationship between humans and animals, we tend to place mammals into two separate boxes. One for pet. Those faithful friends and cuddly strokable beasts which become part of the family. The other is for food. Livestock bred solely with the purpose of ending up on our plates. Director Viktor Kosakovskiy wants to change all that. In his new film Gunda the vegetarian trains his camera on one pig, two cows and a one-legged chicken.

Gunda (who is the eponymous sow) is a beautifully realised portrait of a fascinating group of animals. Filmed in sumptuous black and white, we’re afforded a glimpse into their daily lives.  The cinematography is what draws you in but it soon becomes apparent that each animal has their own distinct personality. Gunda soon bewitches you. Makes you forget that these creatures are no different to any other. Before reminding us of the harsh realities of their lives. A wonderful piece of thoughtful and meditative filmmaking.

Gunda screened at IDFA