Producer and Director Mike Day brings us an intimate and interesting look into the lives of the Faroe Islanders and how they survive. For hundreds of years the Faroese have lived off the meat of Whales and Seabirds, but now with the pollution levels threatening their health – the islanders are worried about the potential mercury poisoning they could incur.
The Islands and the Whales is distressing to watch at times, there’s no doubt about that. Some scenes are shocking, with people standing in a sea of blood and with blood splattered on their faces. Seagulls lying dead on the floor and Puffins being studied, eaten and then stuffed – just to name a few, it’s simply mind-blowing. The documentary also shows you detailed glimpses into how they hunt and kill the Whales – not a normal thing to watch, surely? However, it does give you an interesting way of understanding how these people live their lives every single day. They know of nothing else but this way of life – it’s their normal.
The people of Faroe are aware of what could be happening to them and their children if they carry on eating meat from the sea. It’s thought provoking and no matter where you’re watching the documentary from – for a moment you step into their shoes and you almost feel the need to want to do the right thing. The question on their lips is do they carry out the same traditions that have been spanning generations, or do they think of the health of everyone else? For them it’s a hard decision to make.
Besides the fact that this documentary considers the slaughtering of innocent animals for meat, director Mike Day has beautifully shot the captivating views of the island and its surrounding sea – which stretches on for miles and miles. His vision of this documentary is raw and features a lot of footage and intriguing interviews from people all over the island. It also heavily relies on families and their views on the mercury poisoning and whether it’s a good thing to stop eating Whale meat, for the sake of their children’s health.
On the other hand, you see scenes where everyone is gathered around the dead animals as if to celebrate its killing, and each whale is carved out and distributed amongst the community. So, do they really want to stop this tradition? Even young children are having a go at killing these animals themselves, with the use of toy knives, ‘hacking away’ away at the fins.
It’s safe to say that The Islands and the Whales is no ordinary documentary but it’s fascinating nonetheless. Maybe this could be a warning to the rest of the world? Stop polluting our earth so children in the future won’t have their health threatened simply by eating what everyone else in their family eat.