The Power of a Whale

Review of Saving Luna by Nur L., age 17

Saving Luna is a film that will resonate and tug at the heartstrings of all its audience. The breathtaking cinematography takes us deep into the heart of Nootka Sound, where the baby whale Luna suddenly emerges to greet the surrounding people. Luna's appearance in such shallow waters isn't something these people take lightly, and almost immediately two factions break out: those who want to save Luna by keeping him away from human interactions, and those who believe touch and love and even just eye-contact are both unavoidable and necessary for his wellbeing.

But Luna's entry into what is essentially an entirely human part of the world brings up serious shades of grey; she crosses the line between humans and the natural environment, and no one quite knows what to do. Yes, everyone has theories, has the best of intentions, but no one really knows for sure what the right course of action is—and therein lies the problem.

The mounting tension as Luna's situation grows even more precarious is poignantly shown from the unbiased lens of two journalists' camera. And finally, as we reach the climax of conflict, the journalists find that they must break away from their characteristic objective integrity and take a stand.

In an amazing display of talent, each shot taken and each bit of narration brings us closer and closer to this majestic creature until we too, must make our own decisions about what's best for Luna. We grow so attached to this whale through bits of film that transgress any boundary there might be between man and animal, that it seems as though we might also break a boundary and reach out beyond the screen and touch him—and there lies the power of the film.

All our preconceived notions about animals must be shattered when we see Luna's story—the story of a whale so desperately in need of interaction and the perilous situation that this places the people of the village in. We witness both the transcendent power of a whale, and the folly and imperfections of even the most well-meaning of people, and we cannot help but be drawn to such a tale.

Saving Luna is not only a magnificent retelling of one whale's story, but also a reminder to all of us about humans' fallibility, and you cannot do wrong by seeing it.

Nur L.
May 14th, 2008

Saving Luna
Seattle International Film Festival

Show times:
Saturday, June 7th @ 11:00 a.m. @ SIFF Cinema
Sunday, June 8th @ 1:30 p.m. @ SIFF Cinema

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