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Movies worth watching

These movies offer interesting insights into vegan philosophy and the human condition. Unlike documentaries these movies present abstract ideas and thought experiments that may test your moral preconceptions.

Simon Amstell’s Carnage could have been included here, but, as it’s more mockumentary in style you will find it on our list of Films & Documentaries.

The Wall (Die Wand)

By: Julian Polser (Director) Marlen Haushofer (Book)
Country or Origin: Austria/Germany
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Release Date: 2012
Critical reception: Mesmerising, Philosophically rich drama… Stunningly original - Johnathan Romney, London Film Festival
Issues covered: Human superiority, dominance vs stewardship, Ecofeminism (celebration of difference), animal community as family.
Thoughts: “…explore[s] questions of cohabitation and encounter, human and non-human animality, as well as the threatening but liberating qualities associated with communicating disaster, sustainability, and responsibility for ‘end times’” - Wood Robertson (Scalar Aesthetic of Ecocinema). In Die Wand “the last woman treats her fellow creatures in the forest with love and respects the ‘great game of the sun, moon and stars’. After humanity’s downfall, she reverses the traditional opposition of nature as chaos and civilisation as order. Nature and culture are still opponents, but the narrator perceives civilisation as chaotic and nature as pre-established harmony where every creature has the right to exist.” - Sabine Frost (Literary and Filmic Imaginations of Nature, Humanity, and the Anthropocene in ‘Die Wand’ in Readings in the Anthropocene).
Links: IMDb, YouTube Trailer, Amazon DVD, Prime Video.

White God (Fehér isten)

By: Kornél Mundruczó
Country or Origin: Hungary
Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror
Release Date: 2014
Critical reception: A fierce and beautiful parable - New York Times. Masterful - Variety. Remarkable and riveting haunting and quite extraordinary - Deadline Hollywood.
WARNING: This film can be extremely hard to watch! “As a parable for the indignities visited upon animals by their human superiors, the film states its intentions upfront: The first post-credits image is of a massive bovine carcass being unceremoniously stripped and gutted in an abattoir, entrails tumbling to the floor like damp laundry.” - Guy Lodge (Chicargo Tribune). The later dog fight scenes are particularly harrowing and require repeating the mantra ‘no animals were harmed…’
Issues covered: Speciesism, human cruelty, animal revolution.
Thoughts: This movie has “a profound thematic purpose: to show what animals endure at the hands of humans.” “White God is told mostly from the animals’ perspective. [allowing] viewers to see the [dogs] as equals.” Of note: not only were no dogs harmed in making this film “All of the untrained dogs who perform in this film were rescued from the streets or shelters and placed in homes with help from an adoption program.” - Noah Gittell (No Animals Were Harmed: The Unique Perspective of “White God”). It really isn’t a horror film (as IMDB genre suggests) “these dogs aren’t ravenous killing machines, they are just pissed at humanity and are sick of taking their shit.” - David Voight (Animal Rights: A Review of “White God”).
Links: IMDb, YouTube Trailer, Amazon DVD.


By: Bong Joon Ho as Joon-ho Bong
Country or Origin: United States
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Release Date: 2017
Critical reception: With deep ache and hope in its heart - Vanity Fair. Okja will make you jump for joy and burst into tears - Screen Anarchy.
Issues covered: Consumerism, animal rights, (in)humane slaughter, slaughter methods, animal life expectancy, corporate farming methods.
Thoughts: “What [the director] did want to oppose is how tragic it is to have animals be part of this capitalistic, mass production system. For them, every day is a holocaust.” - Bob Strauss (What Netflix’s meaty ‘Okja’ says about turning animals into food according to director Bong Joon Ho). “Don’t let the image of the giant pig-like animal fool you into thinking that Okja is a wholesome film. Its brutally honest take on animal rights and corporate greed will leave you emotional.” - Jacqueline Arias (How ‘Okja’ Targeted Capitalism and Animal Rights With Dark Humor). “Uses Satire To Comment On The Glorification Of Meat Products. A major reason why meat-eating is still the dominant culture is because corporations romanticize their products. Think KFC, McDonald’s and Burger King. It takes slaughterhouse videos and undercover investigations for us to see how our food is produced. Consumers, having no real knowledge of the cruelty they fund, continue to consume these products, without any guilt. Okja comments on this beautifully. The Superpig contest is nothing but a PR exercise intended on boosting sales and painting the people at Mirando as the good guys. The superpigs are marketed to be organic, non-GMO and better for the environment. Mirando even hires a celebrity zoologist and veterinarian Johnny Wilcox, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, to be the face of their brand. As the film progresses, we are taken behind the closed doors and made aware of the many facts that are being conveniently left out. Obviously, they are not pleasant.” - Wayne D’Mello (Netflix Movie Okja Gets The Animal Rights Movement Perfectly).
Links: Youtube trailer, Netflix.

Dark City

By: Alex Proyas (Director & Writer)
Country or Origin: United States
Genre: Mystery, Sci-fi, Thriller
Release Date: 1998
Issues covered: Vivisection, animal rights, human superiority.
Thoughts: A dark, brooding, Cartesian nightmare where everything is filtered through a veil of doubt. Primarily aimed at the philosophical question ‘are we more than the sum of our memories’. However, Dark City is also a useful thought experiment on vivisection and human justification for vivisection. Gregory Sadler notes that the experimenters are “’antagonists’ rather than ‘villains’. There is a reason for this – despite appearances, they are not actually evil, merely misguided. They have what seem to them perfectly good reasons for what they do, and they seem genuinely frightened and disturbed when their plans are disrupted… - (Dark City, Descartes, and Narrative Doubts). Pay close attention to the human doctor (especially the mouse in the maze) and the film’s final scenes.
Links: Youtube trailer, Amazon DVD, Prime Video.

Planet of the Apes (PotA) - Prequel Trilogy

The prequel trilogy: Rise of PotA, Dawn of PotA, War for PotA.

By: Rupert Wyatt (Director for Rise) Matt Reeves (Director for Dawn & War)
Country or Origin: United States
Genre: Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2011+
Issues covered: Speciesism, human superiority, human arrogance, animal rebellion, human cruelty, vivisection, zoos/animal habitats.
Thoughts: “We see so much of the worst of humanity […]. Maintaining the superiority of the human species at all costs is the only thing of any importance […] [offers] a mirror into the mindset of the modern human. We want to keep our control of the comforts of life, our dominance of the planet, and our power over nature. We want to continue to enslave and kill other species for food we don’t need and persist with unrestrained industry at the expense of wildlife, nature, and a livable planet. These movies are a dire warning, a wakeup call to the human race that we are going down a very dark path and our arrogance will be our downfall. We have to live differently on this planet, or we may not be able to live here at all. We must take Ceaser’s offer of peace and stop enslaving animals, destroying nature, and hating each other. In the meantime, I’m rooting for the apes!” - Hope Bohanec (Planet of the Apes: Speciesism Exposed).
Links: Widely available.


By: James Cameron (Director & Writer)
Country or Origin: United States
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Release Date: 2009
Issues covered: Dominion over stewardship, Ecofeminism, Environmentalism.
Thoughts: The message in Avatar is Environmentalism (not Veganism). While offering insights into deep ecology and what living with nature might look like it has received mixed responses, ranging from “applauding its moral that all nature is connected and people should not destroy habitat for profit” to commentators objecting to “what they judged as hypocrisy that while the film’s protagonists, the Na’vi humanoids, conveyed an ecological sensitivity toward habitat preservation, at the same time they engaged in the domination and consumption of animals, aggressively controlling the will of flying creatures and killing other animals for food” - Rabdy Malamud (Animals on Film: The Ethics of the Human Gaze)
Links: Youtube Trailer, Amazon Prime.

Article Contributors

Dr Tery Hardwicke
Deb Hardwicke
Valerie Redfern