Adapted from the much-loved book by Tim Winton, Blueback tells the story of marine biologist, Professor Abby Jackson. When we first meet her, Abby is investigating a coral reef bleaching event. Compelled by her mother’s illness to return to her remote beach home, Abby tends to her mother and takes the time and space to reflect on her life and relationships, the environment and the experiences that have shaped her. She is defined by her sense of wonder in the ocean and her commitment to its protection. An enormous fish, a western blue groper (Blueback) is at the heart of their patch of coastline that they want to protect.
The film plays out across three time frames: Abby at eight, at fifteen, and as an adult. Through dexterous editing and storytelling, the layers of Abby’s identity are stripped back so that we come to see the girl in the woman, and how she has been transfigured by love for her inspirational mother. Blueback is distinguished by exquisite underwater cinematography, which invites us to enter with Abby into a mysterious and beautiful world, and explores what is at stake as we confront the challenges of climate change.
Blueback provides rich material for use in a variety of curriculum contexts. It would work particularly well as a stand-alone unit in junior secondary Years 7–8 with relevance to the following areas:
- The Arts
- Media Arts
In addition to this, Blueback is a wonderful tool to explore the Sustainability Cross-curriculum Priority and General Capabilities of Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking and Ethical Understanding.
Teachers are encouraged to use this guide in a flexible and strategic way, picking and choosing activities that are relevant to learning outcomes and priorities.
Now a major motion picture, the novel Blueback can be purchased here.
Find out more about the film adaptation here.
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