by Adam B. Vary
It is all too rare when filmmakers can know they’ve directly caused a major change in the world, but that is exactly what the team behind the most excellent documentary The Cove can claim today. The film, which has been making some small waves on the art-house circuit this summer, focuses a bright spotlight on the annual slaughter of thousands of dolphins in the small fishing town of Taiji, Japan. The practice had gone on for years unseen inside an isolated cove until director Louie Psihoyos — inspired by the work of Flipper trainer-turned-activist Ric O’Barry — put together a crack team to capture the killing via hidden cameras and underwater microphones.
Yesterday, O’Barry returned to Taiji for the start of the dolphin killing season, but this time, he says, “there were no dolphin killers in sight.” Granted, this time he came with a small entourage of international journalists, including members of the Japanese press, so only time will tell whether the practice is over for good. But like Super Size Me (which seemingly got fast food restaurants to offer more healthy choices on their menus), and An Inconvenient Truth (which injected global warming into the mainstream discussion in a big way), the makers of The Cove can feel proud that at the very least several dozen dolphins are alive today thanks to their efforts. Doesn’t that just make y’all feel warm and fuzzy inside? What other movies — non-fiction or otherwise — have gotten you to change your life in a big way?