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Birthrights of Animals: “Ferdinand” and “Bovines or the Real Life of Cows”

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Yesterday was the Lunar New Year, and to welcome the Year of the Ox, we will present two wonderful films about our bovine animal friends who, just like us, are born free and should be respected: “Ferdinand” and “Bovines or the Real Life of Cows.”

Our first film, “Ferdinand,” starts in Casa del Toro, a ranch in Spain that raises and trains bulls for the arena. It is also where our hero, Ferdinand, lives with his father. Ferdinand shows no interest in fighting. Instead, he loves to smell the flowers. He is often ridiculed by the other young calves, including Valiente, who believes that winning against the matador is the only way to survive. When Ferdinand’s much-loved father is taken away for bullfighting, young Ferdinand is so worried that he can’t sleep. He waits for his father, who never makes his way back home. Ferdinand decides to run away. He is later rescued by Juan, a kindhearted flower farmer, and his beautiful daughter Nina. Directed by Carlos Saldanha and based on Munro Leaf’s popular 1936 children’s book, “The Story of Ferdinand,” this fascinating Oscar and Golden Globe Award-nominated animation shows us that kindness and compassion is much more powerful than violence.

“Bovines or the Real Life of Cows” was directed and written by French filmmaker Emmanuel Gras, who said that he wanted to make a film “where animals could be real subjects and not objects of human explanation… where humans could be at the same level of animals and not above them.” This beautiful 2012 documentary is a chronicle of the “true life of cows” without narration or interviews. Elegant and sensitive, this César Award-nominated contemplative documentary leaves us to ponder what we have witnessed. Do we, the human, really have the right to take the lives of others?

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