In the once quiet seaside village of Taiji in Wakayama prefecture, the local whaling practice has become synonymous with animal abuse since Louie Psihoyos’s film The Cove won the 2009 Oscar for Best Documentary.
Years later, filmmaker Megumi Sasaki offers a more nuanced examination of the small fishing community, focusing on points of contact and communication between both sides of the conflict— environmentalism versus tradition—in ways that The Cove did not.
A Whale of a Tale does not attempt to resolve what will remain an ideological deadlock between the foreign activists who have devoted years to their cause, and agricultural workers who have developed a long-standing tradition passed on to the next generation. Instead, in a global climate where opposing sides are communicating at each other instead of with each other, Sasaki succeeds in allowing us to give pause.
Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Megumi Sasaki was an anchor, reporter and news director for NHK Television, Japan’s public broadcasting network. Her first feature-length documentary Herb & Dorothy (2008), about legendary New York art collectors Herb and Dorothy Vogel, won top honors at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Philadelphia Film Festival, SILVERDOCS and others. In 2013, she directed a follow-up documentary titled Herb & Dorothy 50X50, which had nationwide theatrical distribution in the U.S. and Japan.
Free admission for screening, but guests must register for the event through Asian Insitute at munkschool.utoronto.ca/ai/event/23857
This screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Takashi Fujitani, Professor of History at the University of Toronto.