Blackfish Film Techniques

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A fascinating but heart wrenching story with a killer whale at its centre, Blackfish is a captivating film that shows how nature can get revenge on man when pushed to its limits. Directed and produced by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and released in 2013, Blackfish tells the story of Tilikum, a performing orca whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, we are shown shocking footage and emotional interviews to explore the creature’s extraordinary nature, the species’ cruel treatment in captivity, the lives and losses of the trainers and the pressures put on the sea-park industry. This emotionally breaking story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little humans have learned from these highly…show more content…
But even more captivating is the testimonies from the former trainers who continue to express their love for the whales, not fear. Blackfish repeatedly makes it clear that these animals, despite their intimidating name, are not murderous. Instead, it is the unnatural conditions of their captivity that drives them to madness. Additionally, several incidents have been blamed on trainer error, including Brancheau’s death. Trainers interviewed for the film examine footage from non-fatal incidents, and conclude that trainer error is often not the cause. SeaWorld’s portrays the animals as fun and friendly, not as beasts capable of aggression or violence. Numerous SeaWorld commercials and promotional videos are shown throughout the film. Their cheeky and vibrant tone makes the frightful footage of the incidents all the more upsetting. Particularly interesting is the soundtrack that accompanies the film. It has no vocals but instead slow instrumentals. These sounds position the audience to feel sad or feel sympathy for the story. The camera shots conducted in the film highlight different emotions. When showing Tilikum in the tanks by himself, the camera shots are taken from a bird’s eye to portray the orca as being small and helpless. Also, when showing Tilikum from a side view, the camera is positioned from a low view, creating the effect of a more large and beautiful
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