Monday, July 13, 2009

NZFF: The Cove

The first weekend of NZFF's just been and all in all it was a solid, albeit exhausting, start to the fest. I used to be able to sit through 50+ films in two weeks, now seeing 8 in the space of two-three days has become a bit of a slog (chalk it up to age? burnout? This kind of thing is bound to happen when you're in the business of watching movies 24-7, 365 days a year). The snooze factor sunk in during Bright Star and Double Take, but I stayed very much awake through the likes of Troll 2 (funnest screening yet), Still Walking, Red Cliff, Ponyo, Drag Me To Hell, and especially The Cove - which I want to plug a little here.

If you love animals - heck, LIFE - and are free tomorrow at 6:15pm, I urge you to go catch The Cove at the Civic Theatre. I saw this doco on Saturday morning - with a disappointingly small crowd - and it packed a tremendous wallop. Directed by top National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, this riveting work of activism exposes the heart-breaking, though little-known atrocity of dolphin killing in the small seaside village of Taiji, Japan. Ok, so you might be thinking "I'm squeamish, I don't want to see dolphins being killed on film" - and rightly so: when the massacre unfolds, it's as upsetting and disturbing as anything you'll see in a theatre this year. But why The Cove is so effective is that it's not just about that; it's not only about Man's inhumanity to Nature, it's also about Man's inhumanity to Man (dolphin meat made toxic by mercury knowingly being sold to school children for lunch - how wrong can you get?).

And despite the heavy-duty subject matter, Psihoyos has also made a film that's thoroughly accessible and ultimately hopeful. It works as a spry Mission: Impossible-style thriller - the stuff with the crew gearing up to infiltrate the cove is riveting - and the concluding message instills optimism in the viewer, suggesting individuals have the power to bring about change. So go see it, and spread the word! Follow The Cove on twitter here and check out their website here.

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