Definition May 2021 - Web

A PIG’S LIFE Gunda is an astonishing documentary, employing careful filmmaking techniques to offer an intimate look at the lives of a sow and her piglets WORDS CHELSEA FEARNLEY / PICTURES ALT I TUDE I n many ways, Gunda is a remarkably simple 93-minute documentary. It follows the life of the eponymous pig, her newborn piglets and their farmyard companions. However, while director Victor Kossakovsky and DOP Egil Håskjold Larsen only shot six hours of footage, a tremendous amount of care went into capturing the personality and intellect of the animals. For example, the film’s black & white grading encourages viewers to rethink their perception of pigs. Larsen explains: “Without any colour, that postcard image of the pink pig, green grass and blue sky disappeared and brought about a new character – one that didn’t have so many connotations. It takes away the sensation that Gunda is anything less than an individual.” The decision to shoot Gunda in black & white was made very early on in prep, while Larsen was testing camera angles on his Leica M Monochrom. “I wasn’t trying to see if we should convey it in this style,” he says. “But when we looked at the digital stills, we noticed details that weren’t visible in the colour photographs. We hadn’t noticed Gunda’s eyelids or the different textures of her skin, as we were too concerned with looking at colour repetition. “It was a huge decision, because every photographer knows the best photos have an underlying sense of purpose – a hint the images were deliberately captured in a PRODUCTION | GUNDA

LEFT Larsen used a Panther dolly to hoist the camera up and down

10 DEF I N I T ION | MAY 202 1

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