Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Cove

This weekend I finally had a chance to watch The Cove. It's a film about the slaughtering of dolphins in Japan. Annually, about 23,000 dolphins are killed in this little cove in Taiji, Japan. Those that aren't killed go into captivity to perform for people. At the end of this post is a synopsis pulled from their website.

Images from the film will not cease to keep replaying in my mind. It is a very powerful film, something that has inspired me to believe that our little film might actually lead to positive change. They worked hard to get footage of what's happening, and to put it out there so that the world knows about the injustice that's taking place. I'm furious about it!

It took me a great deal of courage to watch the film. Simply to watch it. Dolphins are quite sacred animals in my world. I have always been a big fan because I'm a beach girl. We grew up on the water, where wild dolphins swam around us and near our boats. In Florida, at a company that claims the dolphins come and go as they please, I swam with a dolphin named Fonzie. It's tough to put into words the chemistry and the unspoken connection between man and animal.

While watching the film, I wanted some resolution to have taken place. I wanted the problem to be solved before the credits rolled. I wanted them to say, "This was a huge problem, but through the production of this film, positive change has happened." Guess what? That wasn't in the film. And unfortunately, it won't be in ours either. And that breaks my heart.

You know, the only promise I can make right now is that this film will bring awareness and even that feels like it's a big promise. So desperately I want to shout, "Don't you see what's happening?! We have to do something about it. These are people who are suffering. Yes, dolphins are undeniably important, but these are people---our allies--who need our help. We as American citizens need to stand up and say that we don't want this to continue."

The Cove gives me hope. It's a documentary with passionate people behind it, pushing for positive change. I am taking a lesson from what they have done, hoping that we might do the same.

The Cove begins in Taiji, Japan, where former dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry has come to set things right after a long search for redemption. In the 1960s, it was O’Barry who captured and trained the 5 dolphins who played the title character in the international television sensation “Flipper.”

But his close relationship with those dolphins – the very dolphins who sparked a global fascination with trained sea mammals that continues to this day -- led O’Barry to a radical change of heart. One fateful day, a heartbroken Barry came to realize that these deeply sensitive, highly intelligent and self-aware creatures so beautifully adapted to life in the open ocean must never be subjected to human captivity again. This mission has brought him to Taiji, a town that appears to be devoted to the wonders and mysteries of the sleek, playful dolphins and whales that swim off their coast.

But in a remote, glistening cove, surrounded by barbed wire and “Keep Out” signs, lies a dark reality. It is here, under cover of night, that the fishermen of Taiji, driven by a multi-billion dollar dolphin entertainment industry and an underhanded market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, engage in an unseen hunt. The nature of what they do is so chilling -- and the consequences are so dangerous to human health -- they will go to great lengths to halt anyone from seeing it.

Undeterred, O’Barry joins forces with filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Oceanic Preservation Society to get to the truth of what’s really going on in the cove and why it matters to everyone in the world. With the local Chief of Police hot on their trail and strong-arm fishermen keeping tabs on them, they will recruit an “Ocean's Eleven”-style team of underwater sound and camera experts, special effects artists, marine explorers, adrenaline junkies and world-class free divers who will carry out an undercover operation to photograph the off-limits cove, while playing a cloak-and-dagger game with those who would have them jailed. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery that adds up to an urgent plea for hope.

The Cove is directed by Louie Psihoyos and produced by Paula DuPre Pesman and Fisher Stevens. The film is written by Mark Monroe. The executive producer is Jim Clark and the co-producer is Olivia Ahnemann.

No comments: