Coming to theatres tomorrow, Friday, November 25: BEHIND THE COVE
Keiko Yagi’s rebuttal to Louie Psihoyos’ Academy Award-winning film debuted at Montreal World last year. It has also screened in Japan.
As signaled by its title, Yagi’s film is a direct response to THE COVE, aiming to more accurately portray the Japanese side of the story, which the director, and other Japanese critics, have argued was absent or misrepresented by the earlier film. To tell her story, Yagi returns to Taiji, the town depicted in Psihoyos’ film which annually hosts the dolphin drive hunt that is so graphically shown in THE COVE, and which resulted in the scrutiny and condemnation of the international wildlife conservation community. While the filmmaker’s intent is to some extent understandable, wishing to provide a counter-narrative and defense of Japanese practices from an inside vantage point, in contrast to the earlier film’s outsider, non-Japanese perspective, the fundamental problem with Yagi’s film is that it’s frankly not at all well made unfortunately. The director is an acknowledged neophyte who barely knows how her camera works, the film lacks a clear structure, it features terrible editing and narration, and, worst of all, it couches the bulk of its defense of Taiji hunting practices in cultural differences and tradition, without ever acknowledging the key argument against the slaughter: cetacean intelligence.