The 2020 Berlin International Film Festival is just getting started, but Joaquin Phoenix and Paul Thomas Anderson already have one film they can’t help but rave about. Enter “Gunda,” the latest feature from “Aquarela” filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky. The director co-wrote the project with Ainara Vera. Ahead of “Gunda” world premiering at Berlin this weekend, IndieWire is excited to exclusively premiere the official trailer for the film above.
The official “Gunda” synopsis reads: “Where his prior film, ‘Aquarela,’ was a reminder of the fragility of human tenure on earth, in ‘Gunda,’ Viktor Kossakovsky reminds us that we share our planet with billions of other animals. Through encounters with a mother sow (the eponymous Gunda), two ingenious cows, and a scene-stealing, one-legged chicken, Kossakovsky movingly recalibrates our moral universe, reminding us of the inherent value of life and the mystery of all animal consciousness, including our own.”
Joaquin Phoenix, our recent Best Actor Oscar winner for his performance in “Joker,” saw a cut of “Gunda” before its completion and was so moved by the feature that he decided to attach himself to the project as an executive producer. Phoenix has a long history of advocating for animal rights and related issues.
“‘Gunda’ is a mesmerizing perspective on sentience within animal species, normally — and perhaps purposely — hidden from our view,” Phoenix says of the movie. “Displays of pride and reverence, amusement and bliss at a pig’s inquisitive young; her panic, despair and utter defeat in the face of cruel trickery, are validations of just how similarly all species react and cope with events in our respective lives. Victor Kossakovsky has crafted a visceral meditation on existence that transcends the normal barriers that separate species. It is a film of profound importance and artistry.”
On top of Phoenix’s involvement is a rave review from Paul Thomas Anderson. “‘Gunda’ is pure cinema,” the “Phantom Thread” filmmaker says. “This is a film to take a bath in — it’s stripped to its essential elements, without any interference. It’s what we should all aspire to as filmmakers and audiences — pictures and sound put together to tell a powerful and profound story without rush. It’s jaw dropping images and sound put together with the best ensemble cast and you have something more like a potion than a movie.”
Watch the exclusive trailer for “Gunda” above and check out the poster for the film below. The movie is world premiering this Sunday, February 23 in the Encounters section of the Berlin International Film Festival. UTA Independent Film Group is handling the North American sales and international sales are being handled by Cinephil.