The Cove: Analysis of Rhetorical and Cinematic Strategies
The general reason for a documentary is to put forth factual information while attempting to convince the viewing audience of a specific point of view. The film crew behind ‘The Cove’ does this in a way that is informative and accurate, while presenting the information in a manner that allows the viewer to draw their own opinions. ‘The Cove’ follows famous Dolphin Trainer-turned-activist Ric O’Barrey into the dangerous land of Taiji, Japan, where dolphin genocide is occurring. The ‘dolphin trade’ that is taking place kills thousands of dolphins every year. While those behind the dolphin-capture and trade suggest that it is a Japanese tradition to murder dolphins for food and other goods, most of the civilians of Japan are completely oblivious to these affairs. Though many are against it, the phenomenon that is dolphin-capturing has not been stopped. This film makes a point to teach the audience about the events in the cove of Taiji, raise awareness of the inhumane dolphin-slaughter, and gain support and funding to stop the dolphin decimation. In order to persuade viewers to want to fight for the lives of these cetaceans, the film makers and producers use a series of rhetorical strategies, cinematic techniques, and recurring motifs to draw the audience in and capture their hearts with a pitiful and sympathetic understanding. “The Cove” has caused me to lament with the dolphins living in the cove of Taiji, compelling me to actively attempt to end dolphin-massacre, which is exactly what this successful documentary set out to accomplish.
In order to convince the viewers of their point, director Louie Psihoyos and activist Ric O’Barrey use a combination of the rhetorical strategies logos, ethos, and pathos. The most prominent strategy applied in this film was the use of pathos. Pathos is defined as ‘an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion.’ (Mirriam-Webster) This...
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