Ireland day 0111. Monday 17 January 2022- Cow
Today we went to see a film about a cow. It was called “Cow”.
You’re probably wondering how this strange circumstance came about. But you just need to cast your minds back to yesterday’s blog for the clue. After we had been to the AGM in Wynn’s hotel yesterday afternoon, we dropped in to the Irish Film Institute and on the spur of the moment, bought tickets for a film. I had always thought that learning about the world from a cow’s eye view would be interesting so given that a film called Cow happened to be screening at that very moment, we thought that would be a good one to go and see.
But coming back to today. Before we headed off back into Dublin to pay the Film Institute a return visit, there were lots of jobs to be done back here in the flat. Val did her exercises and I had some letters to write. Then a late lunch had to be concocted, which was my job. Today it was roast sausages with colcannon and gravy and even though I have to say it myself, it was quite good. And I also had to call the phone company about line rental, which inevitably took hours on hold listening to an Elton John mash-up (not a very good one I have to say).
Anyway, domestic tasks successfully accomplished, we took the train in to Pearse Station (which is much nice than Connolly, we have decided) and took a leisurely walk through the mostly-smart southern hinterland of Dublin to reach the Film Institute about half an hour away. En route we passed Oscar Wilde’s house, and made a note to come back to visit one Sunday, when guided tours are laid on.
Eventually we rocked up at the Film institute itself, just in time to get a couple of Guinneses to take into to the film showing, so we quickly settled down in the plush cinema – which we had virtually to ourselves. But what about the film itself?
Well – I have to be honest – it was a pretty hard watch. It’s not a feelgood film you would take someone to for a first date. In fact I don’t think you could possibly watch it and ever feel cheered up. It depicts a year in the life of an individual dairy cow, filmed on a hand-held camera as seen from the cow’s perspective, and all at cow-head height. There’s no narrative and personally I found that after two hours watching the hand-held cinematography swaying about all over the place, I was actually beginning to feel seasick.
And apart from the peculiar filming, the content was actually quite unsettling, too. You are assailed by the same barrage of noise that the cow experiences, especially when it spends the winter in the barn, just being recycled through pregnancy, repeated calving, milking and feeding. You can almost feel that cow’s joy when it is allowed into the fields to graze for the brief summer months. You also have a sense of inevitability about how the film will end, which it duly does in the closing sequences.
The totally un-natural management of the cow just to produce calves and vast amounts of milk certainly gave me pause to thought – even to the extent that we bought some non-dairy milk alternative on the way back, to try out tomorrow. Perhaps more people should go and see it – a few might change their buying patterns as a result, and maybe animal welfare would improve. Maybe even greenhouse emissions might go down a bit. And that would probably be a good thing for all of us.
Today’s photos (click to enlarge)