Ep63 - The Islands and the Whales (W/ director Mike Day)


The environment has always been a staple theme for filmmakers as it lends itself to spectacularly cinematic aesthetics, profound statements regarding humanity and nature, and often apocalyptic narratives. Mike Day's new film The Islands and the Whales certainly doesn't lack visual impressiveness but it also carries a combination of subtle storytelling and brutal honestly in its depiction of the complexities of environmental socio-politics which has local and global dimensions. 

The Faroese whale hunters have had a lot of publicity regarding their traditions which seem out of step with environmental sensibilities but The Islands and the Whales both lays bare the contradictions of Western liberal assumptions regarding how to talk about and even be an environmental activist, while also depicting the islanders' own struggles in coming to terms with how pollution is causing what seems like an inevitable end to their traditional way of life.

Dario and Neil discuss environmentalism in cinema, lament the seeming futility of individual and collective responses to climate change, and Dario speaks the the director of the film himself about the challenges of its making and the inadequate media coverage of the environmental crisis that is upon us.

Review in The Guardian

Review in The Ecologist