Published on November 18, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert

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Documentary: Blackfish

Blackfish tales the tragic tale of killer whales in the sea-park industry [flicker: Dogwoof]

★★★★★

Blackfish was hailed as a triumph earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival.

This feature-length documentary delves into the darker realms of the sea-park industry, and takes an in-depth look at the lives of the killer whales that jump and twirl for audiences every day. Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite was among many who were shocked and moved by the news that renowned SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau was killed by Tilikum, a 12,000 lb whale, in 2010.

She set about investigating the incident to find out why a highly intelligent mammal would attack and mutilate its trainer.

After two years of painstaking interviews, research and huge amount of video footage, Cowperthwaite has released an emotive and shocking film, which should force us all to stop and think about our relationship with the natural world.

Blackfish follows the journey of Tilikum, the killer whale, from when he was taken from his family unit off the coast of Washington as a twoyear- old calf and placed in captivity, up to the present day as a killer of several humans, stuck in a concrete tank in SeaWorld, in Orlando.

Shocking and previously unseen before footage and gripping interviews with disillusioned former trainers, as well as leading experts in neuroscience and whale behaviour, weave together a tale of the cruelty that undermines the majestic nature of these giant mammals.

Blackfish is moving beyond words.

The fact that these mammals have a social structure in the wild that is far superior to that of humans, and that these majestic black and white giants have a sense of self and that of their family is remarkable.

Watching an Orca whale scream as her baby is ripped from her in a sea-park created for the amusement of visitors, is not only distressing but a gut-wrenching wake-up call to the cruelty suffered by these frustrated animals at the hands of humans.

Blackfish is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.

 



 

 

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