Docpoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival


A Taste of Whale

A whale hunt tradition in the Faroe Islands that’s long been condemned by animal rights activists is given evenhanded examination in Vincent Kelner’s A Taste of Whale. This well-crafted French documentary does provide some of the grisly “massacre” footage seen in prior indictments of the seasonal “Grindadrap,” or Grind. But it also lets locals weigh in about something they feel is a part of their cultural identity, while Sea Shepherd campaigners opposed to a practice they deem “monstrous” also get their say. 

Dennis Harvey, Variety

The documentary lets the Faroe Islanders tell why they do it: the usual arguments of how generations of predominantly men have done it; it’s part of the national identity; it’s better to eat what you’ve killed yourself; it brings you closer to nature.

And then there’s a group of activists, entering the island from abroad, all kinds of nationalities gathered under the Sea Shepherds flag, including celebrity Pamela Anderson. They argue it is plain cruel, completely unnecessary and a danger to the already rapidly decreasing biodiversity. – –

If you can see past the bloody scenes, which are quite extraordinary in their own right, the film is a beautiful portrait of the Faroe Islands, their inhabitants and their dyed-in-the-wool traditions, but also of a devoted group of idealistic activists. It doesn’t judge, giving ample space to all arguments, without being repetitive.

Nicole Santé, Business Doc Europe

Content warning: animal abuse

Language: English, French, Faroese
Subtitles: English
Length: 85 min
Age Limit: K12
Year: 2022
Production Country: France

Director: Vincent Kelner
Producer: Rémi Grellety
Production Company: Warboys Films
Distribution Company: Films Boutique
Screenplay: Vincent Kelner
Editing: Olivier Marzin
Cinematographer: Vincent Kelner
Sound Design: Thomas Desjonquères, Guillaume D'ham, Simon Poupard, Pierre-Jean Labrusse