Premiering at Cannes 2021, Cow might seem like a departure for renowned director Andrea Arnold. Having cut her teeth on fiction –Fish Tank, American Honey and, most recently, the second season of Big Little Lies – this documentary represents her first foray into non-fiction filmmaking.
Cow, however, fits perfectly into Arnold’s carefully curated filmography, mirroring those films’ “study of confined feminine identity and ruthlessly exploited sexuality” (Variety) and sharing their naturalistic lyricism.
A confronting depiction of the ins and outs of modern farm life, Cow is a sympathetic and insightful vision that pulls no punches. Arnold avoids didacticism, but her message resonates nonetheless.
Viewer discretion is advised, some scenes may be disturbing.