In case anyone missed the Academy Awards on Sunday, The Cove, a film about dolphin hunting in Japan, won this year’s Oscar for best documentary film. The serious subject matter of the movie aside, it looks like they had a lot of fun making it. The clip above is a trailer for the film.
Here’s the director, Ric O’ Barry, talking to the Los Angeles Times at the awards event:
The residents of Taiji, the Japanese fishing town where the movie was shot, were less pleased by the movie’s success.
“This is a close-knit group of fishermen,” Hisato Ryono, a local councilman who appears in the film, told the The Daily Yomiuri, a Japanese newspaper. “The more they feel squeezed, the more they will close off to outsiders. They won’t stop this hunt because of such pressure.”
Japanese government officials defended dolphin hunting and called the film unbalanced. “There are some countries that eat cows, and there are other countries that eat whales or dolphins,” Yutaka Aoki, fisheries division director of Japan’s Foreign Ministry told the Daily Yomiuri. “A film about slaughtering cows or pigs might also be unwelcome to workers in that industry.”
The Taiji mayor’s office issued a statement that suggested it was a cultural misunderstanding — an argument that the Japanese government has also used to defend whale hunting. “There are different food traditions within Japan and around the world,” the statement read. “It is important to respect and understand regional food cultures, which are based on traditions with long histories.”
It makes one wonder where an activity crosses the line from acceptable cultural difference to just plain wrong.