As If We Were Tuna

Director's Statement

"With “As if we were tuna” I want to design a narrative path that offers a complex vision of the ancient and sustainable method of fishing tuna. I am interested in suggesting a metaphor of the eternal conflict between man and nature, a reflection on the hubris of men."

Francesco Zizola



Between April and June, large shoals of bluefin tuna come in from the ocean to reach the clear and warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea. And skilled Italian tonnaroti, the tuna fishermen, lay in wait, casting big and complex nets into the sea - tuna traps tied to floats and ready to lead the fish through a maze of chambers.

Among the various chambers created by the nets, the most important for the purpose of fishing and catching tuna is the "death chamber”, so-called because it hosts the killing or la mattanza. La mattanza is not only the closing act in tuna fishing, but is also a sacred ritual which has inspired poets and philosophers through the ages.

‘As if we were tuna’ says the ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus in The Persians (472 BCE), narrating the Persian defeat at the dramatic battle of Salamis.

This multimedia piece was realised with visuals taken during the fishing of bluefin tuna in Portoscuso and Porto Paglia, Sardinia, between April and June 2016 and 2017. Besides documenting the tonnara, one of the last traditional working tuna traps in the Mediterranean and its importance among the coastal communities, it also highlights its role as the last sustainable method for catching tuna, in contrast with industrial fishing practices that are depleting fish populations around the world.



A Story by
Francesco Zizola

Direction & Photography
Francesco Zizola / NOOR

Francesco Zizola / NOOR

Action Cam
Giulia Ardizzone, Claudia de Nicolò, Giuseppe Caria,
Mario Damele

Film Editing
Elisabetta Abrami

Carlo Purpura, Bernard Bursill-Hall
Mixed at BNC apps Roma

10b Photography

Production Assistant
Serena Scarfi / 10b Photography

Graphic Designer
Fulvia Bernacca / 10b Photography

Color Correction
Emanuele Pasquet / Patroclo Film

VFX Compositor
Vincenzo di Natale / Patroclo Film

Film Duration
17.48 min