Watching the Cove

Today at lunch we learned from Deb that The Cove, which had been nominated for Best Documentary at the Oscars, had recently won the award. Just as an unrelated observation – it was a bit strange for me not to have watched the ceremony, since this is the first year I’ve missed since perhaps sophomore year of high school. Having been almost complete broke all of 2009, and then being out of the country three of the last six months (during Oscar season), the only nominated film I’d seen was The Cove. The other night here in San Roque, the whole group of us watched it on Sirena’s computer, huddled in Shari’s small house. The film explores the dolphin trade and annual slaughter of 23,000 animals in a small cove Taiji, Japan. Japan, the only industrialized nation to still whale on a large scale, has been under animal rights activist’s guns lately for both this issue and the hunting of great whales under the guise of research in the Southern Ocean. When I first saw this film I was so excited not only that the film had been made, but that it had been executed so well. The filmmakers strayed far from the prototype of a boring documentary – talking head Phds and a laundry list of statistics – but instead a mix of action/adventure journalism and the stunning new technologies of nature films. I hardly expected that a few short months after Kristen and I had watched the film, I’d hear of it taking an Oscar. Hopefully films like this can bring the crises of our ecosystems, and man’s utterly detrimental ways, more into the spectrum of acceptable debate. I also hope that using the possibilities of our new media technologies that we can galvanize our youth to fight for new ways and effective change.

By: Andrew Payton

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