Cannes moved by cow biopic

Cannes on Friday got deep insights into the lives of bovines with a documentary starring Luma, a photogenic cow.

Shot over four years on an English farm, the film by Andrea Arnold — whose work includes arthouse favourites ‘Fish Tank’ and ‘Red Road’ — was cut from 200 hours of raw footage showing Luma’s predictable routine but also highlights such as calving and sex.

‘It’s hard to make a film about a cow as a feature film that works for an audience,’ one of the three editors, Nicolas Chaudeurge, sighed at a news conference.

The 100-minute biopic does without commentary, with the only human voices those of the farmers — who treat their ‘girls’ with cheerful affection — or of visiting vets.

Most sounds come from the cows themselves, such as Luma’s angry moos delivered to camera when her new-born calf is taken away, or the incessant noise of licking, sucking and milking at the family-run dairy farm located close to the M25 motorway near London.

‘We always see cows as herds, not individuals,’ Arnold told reporters. ‘I was looking for a cow with some character. This one you’d pick out in a crowd. She was a bit distinct looking, with the most beautiful wide head.’


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