I was initially skeptical about this video because it’s clearly a GoPro advertisement, and in the first couple of minutes it seemed to me like the GoPro use was gratuitous. I didn’t think the cameras attached to Kevin Richardson’s body were necessary, and I was more taken by the view from the car, where you get a clear sense of how giant these bear-hugging lions are. This seemed like a subject that wasn’t made for GoPros, but worked anyway because of talented producers and charismatic felines.
But GoPro convinced me with the sequence at 7:15. It’s so bizarre and organic, in a way that I think you could only get from letting hyenas chew on your camera. Then the crew stumbles into frame in a cage, we see lions chasing their car, and it occurs to me: this is a story about physical intimacy, about how different Richardson’s perspective is from those through a window or a computer screen. The story is about a human interacting with predators on predators’ terms, and the producers tell it by asking furred and bearded subjects alike to gratuitously–even roughly–play with expensive film equipment. Thank you GoPro. For contrast they add some clumsy-looking shots from the cage and the car, and what we get is an arresting visual portrait of Richardson’s privileged relationships. I can’t get over this moment (great timing with the interview and music), or the way a lion’s shoulders move.
I guess I’m sold?