SiciliAmbiente Consiglia: The Cove

THE COVE (Usa 2009)
Recommended by Antonio Bellia, artistic director SiciliAmbiente

Director: Louie Psihoyos
With Ric O’Barry
Oscar for Best Documentary 2010

In 2009, when I did the first edition of SiciliAmbiente, the question that I heard most frequently was: can cinema really raise public awareness against heinous crimes of all kinds?
When I saw Louie Psihoyos’ film, “The Cove,” I no longer had any doubts. The shocking documentary on the slaughter of dolphins that takes place in the bay of Taiji, a Japanese town, struck me deeply. An openly militant film, certainly biased and “political”, in which the author Psihoyos exposes his thoughts clearly without leaving anything to be understood. That is: do you want to make an aggressive documentary? Then let it be direct, coherent, and cinematically superb.
Throught a brilliant idea, Psihoyos manages to reach the bay and film the carnage that takes place without the knowledge of the public, bypassing fierce surveillance, assisted by the police and the local mafia who are determined to keep an activity that leads to the annual death of 23,000 animals away from fastidious public scrutiny. Taiji fishermen beating on wooden poles that sink into the water attract the dolphins into the bay and, at that point, they lower the nets to lock them up until the next morning when the dolphinarium trainers arrive to choose specimens for the aquariums. The value is $ 150,000 per dolphin. The others, regardless of species, sex or age, are brutally killed in the cove that gives the film its name, and sold for $ 600 dollars to the dolphin meat market, with the approval of the Japanese delegation, all the way to the International Whaling Commission.

A film that keeps the threshold of reflection very high, never drops its tone, with tight dialogue and rhythm in a thriller atmosphere that leaves you breathless. A totally silent ending leaves space for a single truth: the slaughter of the dolphins.

A film that everyone should see!

Antonio Bellia

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