The Guardian Editorialises In praise of The Cove

The eco-documentary has become such a popular genre that it has spawned an industry of critics. They accuse it of being facile, propaganda or simply of making things up. Some of these criticisms are being levelled at The Cove. Each year fisherman drive dolphins into a Japanese cove where dolphin trainers the world over gather to select the best specimens. The rest are pushed around the peninsula where they are secretly slaughtered. Maybe the critics are right to jibe at anthropomorphism: dolphins may be more intelligent than humans, but most humans don’t get the attention they do. And what about the fate of less telegenic species who end up on the dinner plate without sparking mass indignation? Or maybe it is the redemptive tale of Ric O’Barry that seems too neat. He was the chief dolphin trainer on the US television series Flipper, who turned dolphin evangelist when one died in his arms. He claimed it stopped breathing deliberately. He has devoted his life since to releasing them back into the wild. The critics are wrong on both counts. Using cameras with night-vision equipment hidden inside fake Japanese rocks, filmmaker Louie Psihoyos brilliantly captures evidence of the fishermens’ dirty secret and with it the chicanery of those who profit from it. Its not just about dolphins, but human greed as well. Besides, if a television series like Flipper spawned dolphinariums all over the world, maybe a film like The Cove can kill them off.

In Praise of The Cove

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