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Short takes

Parental guidance to 8 (themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Gunda
  • a review of Gunda completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 14 April 2021.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children aged 8 and under Parental guidance recommended due to themes and the possible need to clarify content.
Children aged 9 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Gunda
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: General
Length: 93 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

This documentary gives viewers an intimate glimpse into the lives of a sow (Gunda) and her newly born piglets as they go about their lives in the barnyard, until the time comes for the piglets to be taken away. Also featured are a bunch of chickens, including a one legged hen, and a herd of cows. The film is shown from the animals’ perspective and contains no human interaction or talking. Viewers are simply invited to watch the animals, to sit in their presence and to learn to see the world through their eyes.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Baby piglets being separated from their mother; the way humans use and define animals. Though not shown or discussed, the concept of the slaughterhouse lingers in the background.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

  • None noted.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • When one of the newly born piglets is burrowing into the straw, seemingly going the wrong way, the sow comes to its aid but then accidentally steps on the piglet who emits a horrible squeal. The piglet is shown a short while later with an injured front leg. Some young children may be scared by the loud, sudden squealing of the piglet.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • There is a scene in which a large tractor rumbles up to the barn and somehow proceeds to lure the piglets into a large, attached, crate and then drive off, leaving the mother behind. This may be worrisome and confusing for children. There is no dialogue to indicate what is happening or where the piglets are being taken but worldly viewers can imagine that it is off to the slaughterhouse. The sow is left alone in the barnyard, searching for her babies. She can hear them in the back of the tractor but, despite her best efforts, she can’t see or find them. Some children may be upset by this scene.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

  • None noted.

In a nutshell

Gunda is a wordless documentary that invites audiences to establish a connection with the livestock featured in the film and to perhaps begin to see them, and all animals for that matter, as something more sacred and more valuable than just meat. The cinematography is exquisite, and the lighting and camera angles help capture the individuality and charm of the characters. While the film is suitable for most audiences, it will be best enjoyed by adults and older children who are able to see the deeper messages contained throughout and who have the patience to sit and watch a largely silent film. Younger children are likely to enjoy the film, though may appreciate it in shorter bursts.

The main messages from this movie are that animals are much more than just food and that humans should take the time to slow down, to see the worth of those we share our planet with and to reflect upon our relationship with other incredible creatures.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • To value all life.
  • To find joy in simple things, like rain.
  • To be quiet, to be still, to listen, to observe, to learn.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Where meat comes from and the perils of excessive meat consumption.
  • The false notion that animals don’t have feelings.
  • Taking babies away from their mothers, be they piglet or otherwise.
  • The relationship between humans and animals: how it was, how it is and how it should be.