Bluefin (John Hopkins, 2016) Canada

Reviewed by C. Zangi Angeli at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2017

John Hopkins is an acclaimed cinematographer who has written and directed the documentary Bluefin that has already won the Social Justice Award in the Social Justice category.  The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has debut Bluefin  and marks its U.S. premiere though the film did appear at the Atlantic Film Festival and Hopkins won Best Atlantic filmmaker at the Lunenberg Doc fest.  Hopkins hopes the bigger stage will help bring attention to the giant bluefin and what an incredible creature they are.  Bluefin are warm-blooded fish while almost  all fish are cold-blooded.  The Bluefin can regulate their body temperature. Warm-blooded fish possess organs near their muscles called retia mirabilia that consist of a series of  parallel veins and arteries that supply and drain the muscles.  (Now you know)

The tale begins in North Lake, Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Hopkins tells two sides to this mindful story and the controversy over the giant Bluefin.  There is a baffling mystery as off the shores of North Lake is an abundance of Bluefin actually coming to the boats to eat out of the fisherman’s hands acting like pets. The Bluefin tuna has lost their fear of human beings at North Lake.  Fisherman of North Lake feel they are so starved that they come to them versus the fisherman having to scour the oceans for them.  What’s going on?  Scientists assessments feel the bluefin is endangered and that stocks in the seas are down by 90%.  But in North Lake the fisherman are seeing something incredible.  John Hopkins, the filmmaker documents both sides to this mystery and gets to the heart of what lies a passionate concern by all about the fate of the giant Bluefin.  With stunning cinematography you get to discover how monumental these creatures are.  They are the deepest diving and fastest fish in the ocean.  As the human race discovers and many rare few feel that eating one of these is like cooking an eagle or eating a panda.  If you are concerned or even confused by this exclamation and have an interest then you will find this documentary enlightening.  Many experts believe we need to see these creatures in a new light.  Just as we have looked at the dolphins in a different way, we may at some point come to the conclusion Bluefin are more than what we see and may have a uniqueness beyond what we know.  They are NOT an ordinary fish.

One of the problems addressed in the documentary is that Japan is hording tons of Bluefin in freezers.  What’s at stake is the fight for the conservation and sustainable management of these commercially and ecologically important fish, the Bluefin.  This documentary will open your eyes in so many ways and give you food for thought or should I say fish for thought.

I enjoyed the thoughtful  and unbiased way John Hopkins told his story and it is no fish tale.  Ha! Ha!  Seriously, it is an important and stunning documentary.  I met John Hopkins at a Q& A after the showing and at one of the seminars.  He is dedicated to getting this information out there and  a peaceful warrior for the giant Bluefin.



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