The Cove

Typically, if I'd come across a film about dolphins and activists, I'd probably dismiss it thinking, "It's been done. We all know about Greenpeace." However, The Cove, from director Louie Psihoyos in coordination with the Oceanic Preservation Society, is far from the conventional stories we've all heard about "Flipper" and his (and her actually!) fellow cetaceans.

With extensive interviews from Ric O'Barry, original trainer to television's "Flipper" and a dolphin activist ever since, The Cove is perhaps the most unnerving, disheartening yet exhilarating and enthralling documentary film you're likely to see.

By the end, if you have even a sliver of a heart, you'll be deeply sympathetic to the plight of the world's dolphins but also to the state of the oceans in general. Just by shedding light on one dolphin "killing cove" in Japan, the film's organizers have opened the flood gates of international compassion, and hopefully action as well, that will lead to end of these abhorrent practices.

Despite the inherent weight of the work's message, the OPS team has produced a captivating spy tale full of cat-and-mouse reconnaissance, covert operations, breathless near misses, and triumphantly OO7-esque surveillance. Put all this together and you have what deserves to win the Oscar for best documentary film of 2009.

Some of the scenes involving a pair of champion free divers are quite breathtaking. In an underwater world that is made up essentially of sound and sound alone, dolphins and whales are generally perturbed by s.c.u.b.a. equipment, so these especially gifted divers are able to commune with the creatures without restrictions -- just beings sharing an environment together.

There are so many ways you can help: One way is to completely avoid consuming large fish species in foods like sushi and sashimi (your neurons will thank you for keeping them free from mercury exposure which is a central theme of the greater environmental issues presented in The Cove); another way is to start with the Internet and find out how to contribute in any way possible.



  1. Update
    Brought to you by Oceanic Preservation Society February 2, 2010

    Oscar® Nomination For The Cove

    It's official. This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the best films of 2009. The Cove was among the picks for best Feature Documentary.

    This is big news for the OPS team. Big news for message-based film. And of course, big news for the oceans.

    Director, Louie Psihoyos is thrilled.

    "The reason the Oscar® nomination is so important for me is because it's the most watched program in Japanese television. I didn't get into movies to win awards. I got into making this movie to start a movement to save the ocean. I've been trying to give the oceans a voice and an Oscar® nomination amplifies that voice."

  2. The Cove took home the Oscar last night...congratulations! Maybe Sea World will listen, but I doubt it; dollar signs in the eyes make them blind.

  3. From the Oceanic Preservation Society:

    "The Cove Debuts On Network Television"

    "We are looking forward to the US television debut of The Cove. Animal Planet will air the complete doc at 9 PM this Sunday. Additional screenings will follow. Planet Green also has scheduled The Cove."

  4. Update
    March 1, 2011 Brought to you by Oceanic Preservation Society

    The Cove DVD comes to Taiji, Fishermen end season early

    This weekend, every Taiji household found a copy of The Cove in their mailbox.

    In a surprise move shrouded in secrecy, film director Louie Psihoyos, in conjunction with several anonymous Japanese groups, arranged for 2000 copies of a Japanese-dubbed version of The Cove to be mailed to all residents of the coastal town. Most are aware of the controversy surrounding their town yet few have been able to view the film.

    OPS has also put a free version for viewers outside the country, on The Cove website.

    A theatrical release last summer was marred by incidents of protest by extreme nationalists, forcing several theaters to cancel. Despite dozens of awards and international acclaim, The Cove has had few viewers within Japan.

    "The people of Taiji deserve to know what millions of others around the world have learned about their town," said Director Louie Psihoyos. "We here at OPS hope that when the Japanese people watch this film in the safety of their own homes, they may see that a few fishermen’s profits are giving a whole nation a black eye, not them."

    A DVD subtitled version of film has also been released by Tokyo-based distributor, Medallion Media, slated for traditional sale and rental outlets. Ads for the film have been seen in Japan on TV, print and subway monitors.

    The arrival of The Cove in Taiji coincides with reports that fishermen have ended the annual dolphin hunt one month early. Tarps used to shield their work and other equipment has been washed and put away. Some speculate that the fishermen have hidden evidence of the slaughter in anticipation of increased interest in the town.

    OPS is grateful to the many who helped to make this happen. To our brave supporters in Japan who oversaw the delivery, to Bobby Sager who underwrote the dubbed version, along with all other donors.

    To all who share our vision of ending the capture and slaughter of dolphins.

    We thank you.


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