Monday, November 12, 2012

Movie: The Cove

While we are on the subject of films...

I expected to be much more conflicted watching The Cove, a documentary about the practice of capturing and killing dolphins at a particular town, and cove, on the coast of Japan. I like animals. I like dolphins. But I braced for a moral beating, a political piece advocating yet another set of restrictions on sinful humanity.

Instead, what I got was a highly personal plea, and a thought-provoking study in civil disobedience.

I have no doubt that the producers of this film are politically active and seek to impose improper limits on human action. But that was not what this film was about.

The film was triggered by the efforts of Ric O'Barry, who was the dolphin trainer from the Flipper TV series. O'Barry became very familiar with dolphin behavior and later was disenchanted regarding their state in captivity, eventually opposing capture for the purpose of marine mammal shows. It pretty much boils down to the fact that he realized they just weren't happy, he didn't like it, and wanted to do something about it.

The film involves a team of people seeking to film a regular dolphin capture/kill event in the town of Taiji. Fishermen drive dolphins into a narrow bay (which is beautiful, by the way). After the prime dolphins are selected for captivity, the rejects are killed with spears for their meat, turning the entire cove blood-red. It's brutal and heartbreaking. I understand eating meat involves death, but this event is tough to see.

I won't go into all the details of the film -- which are fascinating -- but it left me wondering: what would I do for something I believe in? I am a rule-follower by default (speed limits, "No Trespassing" signs, you name it), but sometimes it may be necessary to break the rules to do something you think is right. If early Americans had balked at dumping tea in the bay, or at committing treason against England, this nation might never have existed. Sometimes civil disobedience may be the way to cause people to wake up and take notice, and hopefully, to change.

A thought-provoking film, highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Great insight, I recall being a bit let down at what I felt was a bit of self-congratulation and ego among the crew that, to me, distracted from the message. Based on reviews, that's in the minority, though.
    I guess when it comes to civil disobedience, I kind of dig the anonymous, faceless protests. But haven't really taken a strong stand requiring any significant risk to speak of, so respect to those that do.

    Related to running, perhaps you're familiar with a monumental form of civil disobedience regarding Hardrock -- running (only) 10 times in a row and not 11.
    Joking here with much respect to Roch (who is giving even more to the race with a kick-ass aid station and didn't claim any sort of civil disobedience) and needling Dakota a bit for a rare literary miss on a stretched metaphor -- had to make that clear so as not to anger the Hardrock gods and look like to much of an ass!