The Cove to have internet screening in Japan
Nationalist protests halt cinema showings for doc
The Cove, the documentary about a controversial dolphin kill held annually in a Japanese town, will be shown in Japan by streaming video over the internet.
The move to an internet showing was made after Japanese nationalists objected that the film, which has ignited worldwide opposition to Japanese fishing practices, was an insult to the nation.
About 20 Japanese theatres had plans to screen Louis Psihoyos's Oscar-winning documentary about the bloody dolphin hunt in Taiji.
But news that it would open in Japan prompted a protest outside the offices of the distributor and threatening phone calls to the cinemas.
Now Niwango Inc., a Tokyo-based internet services company, plans a free screening of The Cove Friday on its website. The site also will invite an online exchange of views.
The film shows the dolphins being herded into a small cove, then trapped behind nets and slaughtered. The filmmakers had to dive in the area in secret to get around tight security imposed by the town.
Ric O'Barry, 70, a former dolphin trainer for the Flipper TV series who is featured in the film, is Japan to speak to students and others. He said he plans to return with a group of activists to block this year's hunt in Taiji.
The Cove was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival earlier this year and also has had private screenings.
The decision not to release the film in cinemas has ignited a debate over freedom of speech in Japan.
"A work of genius, a flop or a monstrosity — the film must be seen first," said newspaper The Nikkei in an editorial. "If it is forced to be cancelled throughout Japan, that only hands a medal of honour to a very cleverly made propaganda work."
With files from The Associated Press