The Whale (2011)
Every month: Ocean Night! From majestic documentaries to epic surf flicks, explore the great blue sea with Ocean Conservancy, Humboldt Surfrider and Humboldt Baykeeper.
One summer in a fjord called Nootka Sound on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, a young killer whale whom people call Luna gets separated from his pod. Like us humans, orcas are highly social and depend on their families, but Luna finds himself desperately alone. So he tries to make contact with people. He begs for attention at boats and docks. He looks soulfully into your eyes. He wants to have his tongue rubbed. When you whistle at him, he squeaks and whistles back. He follows you around like a puppy. People fall in love with him; a cook on an old freighter, a gruff fisheries officer, an elder and a young man from a First Nations band. But the government decides that being friendly with Luna is bad for him, and tries to keep him and people apart. This effort becomes hilarious and baffling, because Luna refuses to give up his search for a social life. Policemen arrest people for rubbing Luna’s nose. Fines are levied. But humans are social, too. When the government tells people they can’t even look at Luna, people still go out to meet him, like smugglers carrying friendship through the dark. Then conflict comes to Nootka Sound. The government builds a huge net. The First Nations’ members bring out their canoes. Then, suddenly, as the two sides start to fight over Luna on the wind-swept water, the young whale has all the friends he wants. As the officer tries to lead Luna into the net, the First Nations elder sings and paddles and tries to lead him away, and Luna plays among the boats like a kid out of school. Nothing goes as planned on Nootka Sound. Finally even the filmmakers get swept up in events that catch everyone by surprise and challenge the very nature of that special and mysterious bond we humans call friendship. In the end, THE WHALE explores one of the greatest of mysteries: Who are these lives who share the planet with us humans, and what are the connections between us that we do not yet know?