LOS ANGELES – “The Cove,” which documents the business of dolphin hunting in Japan, won the Oscar for best feature documentary.
The triumph of “The Cove,” among the best reviewed films of the year but relatively unpopular with U.S. audiences due to its disturbing subject matter, came days after its distributor announced the film would open in theaters across Japan for the first time later this year.
“The Cove” has failed to even gross $1 million in domestic release and is even less known in Japan, where the government has maintained that the hunting of dolphins and whales remains an important cultural tradition.
Directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos, the film follows a group of eco-activists, led by Ric O’Barry, who struggle with Japanese police and fisherman to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, in southern Japan, where dolphins are hunted.
It features graphic footage of dolphins being herded into the cove and slaughtered, but also notes that dolphin meat is eaten by a very small percentage of Japanese people.