The Cove Essay

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Discuss how the director of The Cove subverts expected conventions of documentary to persuade the audience to a point of view. Despite conforming to the conventions of an investigative documentary ‘The Cove’ covertly seeks to persuade viewers to a particular point of view. The film is set in the small fishing village of Taiji Japan, and features the industry based around capturing and or killing dolphins. The purpose of the film is to inform its audience of the industry and try to persuade them to become activists to stop it. Although Louie Psihoyos has used fundamental aspects of a documentary for this film, such as location shots and interviews with key people, he has diverged from a traditional documentary through the inclusion of visually confronting footage and persuasive filmic techniques. Although The Cove uses many techniques that are used in a documentary, such as straight forward narration and direct and indirect interviewing, it uses certain film techniques that move away from the fundamental aspects of a documentary. Throughout the film the use of “Glittering Generalities” is present. This means to use attractive but vague words that appeal to human values and trigger emotions, without providing any real information. An example of this in the film is Rick O’Barry states “these dolphins are symbolic of a new day for the environment, and If we can't stop that, if we can't fix that, forget about the bigger issues.” This technique is most commonly used in propaganda and was used in WW2 German documentaries, such as ‘Triumph of the Will’, to push Hitler’s message to the people. The Cove also uses various filmic techniques to capture the audience’s attention and draw them in. For example thermal cameras are used in the film when the activists are conducting operations to film and expose the dolphin slaughtering. Not only are the thermal cameras required

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