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The Whale & The Raven

Can you really put a price tag on entire eco-systems once they are gone? That’s one of the main questions asked by anxious observers in The Whale and the Raven, written, directed, and shot by Mirjam Leuze.

As you might surmise, this new National Film Board effort, made in conjunction with German TV, makes a special effort to view the blue-green Pacific Northwest through Indigenous eyes—that is, the people who have been observing the delicate dance of feathers, fins, and firs for millennia.

Hermann Meuter and his then-partner Janie Wray washed up on Whale Point, at the bottom of Gil Island, in traditional territory of the Gitga’at First Nation. Their whale research centre was an important point of reference for the battle against oil tankers, as it is now in a renewed bid to let LNG vessels through the area, assuredly disrupting the quiet realm of the whales, who use sonar to stay connected.

Adopted into the Blackfish and Raven clans for their tireless efforts, Meuter and Wray are two of the principal subjects here, among mostly First Nations residents. Parallels between human clans and the cetaceous kind are obvious, without being hammered home. And the overhead shots of this gorgeous, if precarious, landscape are worth the price of your passage.

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