Cow + Introduction and discussion

Feature director Andrea Arnold (American Honey, Big Little Lies, Fish Tank) makes her documentary debut with this moving record of the life of a dairy cow.

Time & Tickets

Luma has only just given birth, and the amniotic sac is still dangling between the cow’s legs. But there she goes, into the milking machine again. Meanwhile, out of Luma’s sight, the farmer feeds her young calf from a bottle.

Like GUNDA, Victor Kossakovsky’s documentary about pigs, COW makes a statement without making a statement. Andrea Arnold simply chronicles the life of a dairy cow: a succession of inseminations, births, milkings, and so on. At times the camera gets up so close that it looks like Luma is going to trample the camera operator underfoot.

The resulting film is intensely moving. Here, it’s not the individual human that’s the villain, but the system. Arnold foregrounds the fact that this ‘object’ being channelled through a numbing routine is a living being – a being who lovingly licks clean her new-born calves, who is tenderly nuzzled by a bull, who can enjoy the sunset from her pasture. A being who can look at you through the lens and make contact. Her eyes are unforgettable.

Pim Martens, Professor of Sustainable Development at Maastricht University, will introduce the film and put COW in the broader context of sustainability, animal welfare, and the relationship between humans and animals. After the screening he will take the lead in the discussion (language: English).

Time schedule:
19.15 Doors open
19.30 Start introduction
19.45 Start documentary
21.20 Start discussion
21.45 End of programme

Andrea Arnold, UK, 2021, 94 min. English spoken, without subtitles.