Cow

2021, Andrea Arnold, UK

Director: Andrea Arnold
Producer: Kat Mansoor
Cinematography: Magda Kowalczyk,
  Ponvishal Chidambaranathan
Editor: Nicolas Chaudeurge, Rebecca Lloyd,
 Jacob Secher Schulsinger
Music Supervision: Simon Astall

Rating: Exempt Runtime: 94 minutes
Content note: Animal cruelty

With Cow, the second film about cows we are screening in 2024 (First Cow is appropriately our first cow film), the titular cow is at the centre of the narrative.

Following 2016’s American Honey, her sprawling masterpiece about young people on a roadtrip across a crumbling America, Andrea Arnold decided to go much smaller. Cow is a documentary portrait of Luma, a dairy cow in Kent. If this sounds like a departure, you’ll be surprised by how much this feels aligned to Arnold’s previous work. In particular, Arnold once again uses (mostly diegetic) pop music to contextualise her female protagonist in a way that really invites the viewer to see Luma as much of a thinking, caring, loving figure as any of her human actors.

Arnold has pushed back against suggestions that Cow is explicitly a vegan film, instead characterising it as a documentary about how our “relationship with the millions of non-human lives we use is very much part of our existence.” However, its cinéma vérité style invites viewers to project their own meaning onto the (often upsetting) events depicted onscreen and for many, that may involve rethinking their relationship with animals.

Date

May 27 2024

Time

6:15 pm - 7:50 pm