Acclaimed Film Leaves Animal Activists Outraged

Photo Credit: Ecorazzi/Rust and Bone

(ANIMAL RIGHTS) Animal activists seem less impressed than film critics with Rust and Bones, a recently released French-Belgian film starring Marion Cotillard. Animal rights organizations, including Animal Defenders International, advocate a boycott against the film, as orcas were used and kept in captivity for filming. Animals should never serve as entertainment, and we hope activist efforts can help end this trend of animal exploitation. — Global Animal 
Marion Cottilard stars in Rust and Bone, a movie that employs killer whales. Photo Credit: Ecorazzi/Rust and Bone

The Week UK

It might have won over critics at the London Film Festival, but Marion Cotillard’s latest film, Rust and Bone, has been condemned by animal rights activists.

The movie received critical acclaim when it premiered at Cannes earlier this year and even won Best Film in London. However, Animal Defenders International, an organisation which campaigns against the abuse of animals for entertainment, has called for a boycott of Rust and Bone because it features killer whales (orcas) in captivity.

Directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), Rust and Bone follows the romance that develops between Ali, a night club bouncer played by Matthias Schoenaerts, and Stephanie (Cotillard), an orca trainer who suffers a terrible work place accident.

The Daily Telegraph reports that some of the movie’s scenes were filmed at Marineland Antibes in France, which currently owns five captive orcas.

Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian describes Rust and Bone as “an utterly absorbing love story” in which “mighty beasts loom out of the chlorinated water to perform undignified tricks for the crowd”.

Jan Creamer, chief executive of ADI, said: “We are dismayed that the director, Jacques Audiard, gave his approval to the incarceration of orcas by using performing animals in the film.

“We urge the public to boycott Rust and Bone and also to pledge not to visit establishments that use captive whales and dolphins for entertainment.”

ADI says forcing wild orcas and dolphins, which usually live in tight-knight family groups, into captivity condemns them to a “wretched existence”. The result is a significantly reduced lifespan: from 60 years for a female in the wild to 20 in captivity.

Confinement of orcas can also initiate abnormal behaviour, including aggression, in the animals. In 2010, Dawn Brancheau was killed at SeaWorld Orlando by Tilikum, a killer whale who had already been involved in the deaths of two other people.

ADI says that they are “extremely disappointed that Cotillard agreed to work with captive orcas”, especially since she previously stated that she was “repulsed” by places where animals are in captivity.

The Oscar-winning actress said: “I had to work through my rejection of this world, which I still feel. But I had a job.”

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