Using state-of-the-art equipment, a group of activists, led by renowned dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry, infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.
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Richard O'Barry was the man who captured and trained the dolphins for the television show Flipper (1964). O'Barry's view of cetaceans in captivity changed from that experience when as the last straw he saw that one of the dolphins playing Flipper - her name being Kathy - basically committed suicide in his arms because of the stress of being in captivity. Since that time, he has become one of the leading advocates against cetaceans in captivity and for the preservation of cetaceans in the wild. O'Barry and filmmaker 'Louie Psihoyos (I)' go about trying to expose one of what they see as the most cruel acts against wild dolphins in the world in Taiji, Japan, where dolphins are routinely corralled, either to be sold alive to aquariums and marine parks, or slaughtered for meat. The primary secluded cove where this activity is taking place is heavily guarded. O'Barry and Psihoyos are well known as enemies by the authorities in Taiji, the authorities who will use whatever tactic to expel the... Written by
Kerner Optical, previously the Industrial Light and Magic model shop, created special camouflaged (rock-like) cameras that helped capture some of the footage in the cove. See more »
It sometimes amazes me that the only language which has been extensively taught to dolphins is a version of American Sign Language, which, of course, you use your hands, so you have all these wonderful signals, and people use their hands to give messages to dolphins. And this somehow kind of misses the point because dolphins don't have hands, so this is inherently a very one-way process. And it's this anthropomorphic, "We have something to teach them or control them," and perhaps we ought to be...
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After the end credits there is a humorous scene involving the team's Whale Blimp and local police. See more »
The Cove begins in Taji, Japan where we first meet former dolphin trainer Ric O'Barry. O'Barry was the man responsible for capturing and training the five dolphins that played Flipper in the international TV sensation. When the cast and crew went away, it was O'Barry who remained on the set, he lived in the famous house on the lake with the dolphins until the shows end. It was here he learned how sensitive, self-aware, and highly intelligent these creatures are, and more importantly how harmful it was to keep them in captivity. One fateful day his dolphin Katherine, committed suicide in his arms. Every breath a dolphin takes is an intentional, conscience effort, Katherine laid in his arms, took one breath and went under forever. This was the catalyst for Ric O'Barry's journey, to undue what he created, to stop the capture and captivity of dolphins world wide. Sound like a typical "save the whales" boring documentary? This is not your granddaddy's documentary! The Cove unfolds more like a spy thriller than a hug the trees documentary, think James Bond meets Jacques Cousteau .
Ground Zero is Taji, Japan. From the outside the town seems to be devoted to the majestic creatures swimming off it's shores. Statues are erected, boats designed to look like dolphins cruise the shore, and a whale museum is the pinnacle of the town. But in a remote area we find a cove surrounded by barbed wire, keep out signs and security, it is here that the town's dark secret lies. Every year from September to March, fisherman motivated by the multi billion dollar dolphin trading industry and an underground market for mercury-tainted dolphin meat, gather in this cove for the hunt. How this hunt is conducted is so grossly inhumane and dangerous to human health, that the fishermen go to great lengths, even murder, to keep anyone from seeing it. Ric O'Barry needed someone who could put together a team to infiltrate the cove. In walks filmmaker Louis Psihoyos and the Ocean Preservation Society. With the local authorities tipped off to the project, the filmmakers put together an Oceans11 style team. The cast of characters include a Hollywood special effects artist, two world champion free divers, an adrenaline junkie, and an electronic expert from the Canadian Air Force. Their mission: to plant and recover the HD cameras on the cove and under water. To get past guards and police they conducted missions in the middle of the night using diversionary techniques and military grade high definition cameras that picked up on body heat. The husband and wife free diving team placed the cameras under water while the adrenaline junkies scaled the rocky face of the cove to plant the cameras in fake rocks. Several times we see the team seconds away from being caught. Their efforts paid off in a big way, the audience is taken into the cove to see first hand the horrors that happen there. The footage is some of the most powerful imagery I have seen.
This gorilla journalism style of film-making may be what we need to spark the interest of the new generation. I believe this documentary may spawn a new uprising in the "save the whale" movement, starting with shutting down the cove in Taji, Japan. The Cove infiltrated my dreams the night I saw it, that never happens to this jaded Angelino. This film will stay with you and it will make you want to help the cause. 23,000 dolphins are due to be hunted and executed starting in September, what will you do to stop it? The Cove opens in select cities August 7th.
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