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Activist film “The Cove” has great success in fighting Japan’s dolphin hunt September 21, 2009

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A recent story from NPR discussed the success that activist film “The Cove” has had in educating the masses about Japan’s dolphin hunting season that begins in September. During the six-month season, thousands of dolphins are led to coves where they are either captured and sold to amusement parks, or killed for their meat. The film, which focuses on one of the key towns involved in these hunts, has won multiple awards while creating international concern about the practice.

As Time contributor Coco Masters argues, though, the ethics of the hunt are not as black and white as “The Cove” pretends. The film is perhaps a little over dramatic, Masters argues, as it takes the tone of a thriller. The fishing village of Taiji is also just one of many in Japan, and as Masters contends, is engaging in a practice that is normal in its culture, perfectly legal, and that has no impact on endangered species.

To see the trailer for “The Cove” yourself, and a review by the Los Angeles Times, watch the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  “The Cove” seems to follow a long line of movies that have successfully promoted the cause of environmental activists. What other films of this genre have had great success in recent years?

2.  Will “The Cove” really be able to stop the dolphin hunting? What might Japanese fishermen do now to evade the negative attention of the media?

3.  How might a film like “The Cove” make the dolphin hunting situation worse? In other words, is there a risk in creating a drama about the native practices of a country’s people?

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