Planet In Focus 2017: Our Review of ‘The Last Pig’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Planet In Focus 2017 by - October 26, 2017
Planet In Focus 2017: Our Review of ‘The Last Pig’

The Last Pig features Bob Comis, a man who was then an ethical pig farmer. The movie shows his unconventional practices, like walking his pigs on his farm. Presumably most farmers just keep their livestock in stifling pens but instead he lets them follow him around. The documentary also shows his doing chores around his land, his solitary ways adding to the film’s theme. It shows him through these wide shots, even wearing the same colours as the land he’s walking in. In a way it shows his strong belief that he sees himself equal to nature and his pigs.

It doesn’t take long for The Last Pig to let us hear Comis’ voice and commentary. Comis talks to his pigs. During voice overs he’s a good storyteller, sometimes seamlessly jumps from one emotion to another. He talks about how the death of animals has always affected him, even during filming. He grapples with the idea of having to kill the creatures that he has bonded with. As a content warning, the documentary will show parts of the slaughtering. It shows a pig stretching out its feet in pain, or what it looks like as a product to consume.

In many aspects the documentary works well. Although sometimes its impressionistic and Malickian approach to depicting the farm is its biggest setback. It shows enough of Comis physicality and interior thoughts. But it wouldn’t hurt for the camera, under director Allison Argo’s hands, to get closer to him. It shows him as a silhouette amidst nature and machinery. It does get close enough to the pigs. Sure they’re indistinguishable from one another, and can get as dirty as the man toiling for their health. But this technique, in a way, helps convince its intended audience that these creatures are conscious beings.

 

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.