JAPAN CUTS 2017:
A small, seemingly unknown town in Japan, Taiji, suddenly found itself propelled into the spotlight, under the fire of environmentalists and animal activists from all across the world when they were the subject at hand for the 2010 documentary, The Cove, which went on to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature the year that it was released. Flash forward some years later, and this little town of whalers is being put back into the spotlight, even bigger than they had ever imagined they would be. From a town that no one talked about, to a sudden battleground, front and center of a discussion of whether or not whaling, a tradition for some 400 years for this community, is okay to continue as it is both a source of food and a cultural staple for this town, or are the creatures that are being hunted in these waters more than sport to be killed and in fact are highly intelligible creatures that deserve to be protected at all costs? A Whale of a Tale takes the refreshing perspective of taking a neutral stance by way of showing both sides of the debate at great length, creating one of the best documentaries to see in the last several years.
|The community of Taiji sets up festivals and days of prayer|
to celebrate and show thanks to the whales and dolphins the
local hunters have taken for their consumption.
Initially embarking on this journey, worry came to mind as I thought this may be a one-sided angry piece that shuns those who hunt, or in fact even trash those who wish to see the animals out of harms way, but as Mr. Alabaster came into play and once you realize that he is very neutral on the whole issue (even often wearing a neon yellow hat when he traverses the town, a symbol of neutrality) and thinks more logically versus emotionally, it becomes reassuring in its showcasing and debating of the overall issue. There are some nice moments that come throughout that show that the hunters aren't just heinous killers and they don't ever really get portrayed entirely as bad guys, which is wonderful. We see them in their homes, eating with their families, or even dining out with Jay at one point, calling him their friend. We get a real sense of the community here even within this structure, we see numerous points of view brought up by the locals, such as concerns with mercury intake from the fish, if they are endangered or near it, and so on.
|Protesters from throughout the world that wish to save the animals!|
Written by Josh Parmer