The Cove poster

Watching ‘The Cove’ in Tokyo

I watched The Cove with my friend, Zan Yamashita, at the Image Forum theatre in Tokyo last night. Apparently it’s the only place in all of Tokyo you can go to watch this film.

It was a really strong but very depressing film. I’m not certain what the film hoped to achieve exactly, even though ultimately Richard O’Barry, of Flipper fame and featured prominently in this documentary, hopes that one day the mass slaughter of dolphins in Taiji will end. After seeing the documentary, I sure hope so too.

Some thoughts:

  • perhaps “heroism” on the part of the documentary filmmakers, is a double-edged sword?
  • I’d love to have seen more Japanese activists’ voices – such as Pangeaseed – on what they thought of the dolphin culling in Taiji. Right now the “Us vs Them” mindset permeates the film very strongly, and since this culling is also an economic activity, local voices would be heard much louder than foreigners’. Likewise with the destruction of Malaysian rain forest because of logging… if Americans said anything about it, Putrajaya would probably say “How can those Westerners intervene in how we develop our country?!” But if more Malaysians said it, well, I guess Putrajaya doesn’t really have to listen to anyone… haha!
  • apparently at least two scenes in the movie had editorialized subtitles, which said “This is not true”: 1) when the documentary was talking about high mercury content in dolphin meat, and 2) how dolphin meat may be a substitute for whale meat in local markets. Interesting. Thanks to Zan for pointing this out to me.

Anyway, my stay in Tokyo has been quite a blast. This is another very interesting experience. Zan and I wish more Japanese would watch this film, so that it can be raised in public consciousness more.

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