Two movies worth watching, about pigs(?)

October 20, 2021
By Scott Tobias
Dear Watchers,
We know your watching time is limited. And the amount of things available to watch … is not. Looking for a movie? Nearly any movie ever made? It’s probably streaming somewhere. That’s a lot of movies.
Below, we’re suggesting two of them, the latest of our weekly double-feature recommendations. We think the movies will pair well — with each other and with you.
Your weekly double feature: That’s some pig!
In “Pig,” Nicolas Cage stars as a renowned chef who becomes a reclusive truffle forager who must track down his stolen pig.Courtesy of Neon
‘Gunda’ and ‘Pig’
The beautiful black-and-white documentary “Gunda” (2020) opens with a sow on its side, framed by the entrance of its pen, giving birth to a litter of piglets; each one tumbles delightfully over its mother’s body and tries to find its footing in the hay. Over the next 90 minutes, the director Victor Kossakovsky follows the sow, named Gunda, and her piglets as they grow and develop under her watch, ending in that inevitable morning when they’re taken away. This is a farm, after all.
Now streaming on Hulu, “Gunda” features no music, no narration, no titles and no talking heads. Whatever Kossakovsky wants to say about life on an animal farm comes through in behavioral details — and, in the end, the offscreen space — but his approach gives viewers the rare opportunity to look at the world from an animal’s point of view and perhaps understand them in a new way. The film is also quietly and dazzlingly cinematic: Kossakovsky had the pen constructed like a set, and he isn’t shy about deploying techniques that aren’t usually associated with documentaries, like long tracking shots and a rapturous slow-motion sequence in which cows gallop out of the barn on a misty morning. Once you adjust to its pastoral rhythms, the film casts a unique spell.
There’s a terrific, radiant and humble beast in the superb Nicolas Cage curio “Pig” (2021), but it doesn’t occupy center stage for long. Cage stars as a grizzled recluse who lives in the woods outside Portland, Ore., with his best friend, a truffle-foraging pig. When the animal is kidnapped, he heads into the city to have his revenge, which takes him deep into Portland’s dark fine-dining underworld. “Pig” is somehow wilder and more unexpected than its synopsis suggests — it is decidedly not “John Wick” with a porcine twist. And it is more moving, too, as the first-time filmmaker Michael Sarnoski teases out details from his hero’s past. The film never goes where you think it’s going to go, yet it always lands assuredly in the right place. SCOTT TOBIAS
Stream “Gunda” on Hulu. Rent it on AmazonApple TVGoogle Play and Vudu.
Rent “Pig” on AmazonApple TVGoogle Play and Vudu.

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