“Blackfish” tells the story of Tilikum, a performing killer whale that killed several people while in captivity. Along the way, director-producer Gabriela Cowperthwaite compiles 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 brought to bear by the multi-billion dollar sea-park industry.
This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.
Since its release last year, “Blackfish” has had an enormous impact on public opinion. Seaworld in America has been fighting claims made by the movie, but attendance at sea parks has dropped, new legislation has been drafted and shelved, and even the script to upcoming Pixar movie “Finding Dory” has been revised so that the movie no longer ends with a “happy ending” in a marine park.
The argument for cetacean rights in captivity has been a long and ongoing one, but “Blackfish”, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, has undoubtedly brought it to greater public attention. Both sides of the argument for and against keeping orcas in marine parks are vocal. No matter what the outcome of the debate, or how long it takes, this is an important issue which may forever change the way cetaceans are perceived by humans.
You can watch it now on our Premium Rental Service, or through your participating public library.
For more on this topical issue, check out “The Cove” and “The Whale.”