Marion Cotillard's Rust and Bone faces animal rights boycott

Nov 1, 2012

New French film opens to critical acclaim – but use of captive killer whales angers activists

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.”

  •  Rust and Bone opens in the UK this Friday

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Nothing like putting one's principles aside for a job, eh?

its actually 60 for males and 80 for females. Please get the facts right before posting :) its a 60yr difference and people need to know the real difference of life span in captivity and wild.And i want all the orcas in the wild but some were born in captivity ex Inouk, though some like Freya were torn from families. I would like to see the movie as orcas are my fav animal.

While I'm sure this movie has a wonderfully powerful message, the avenue they chose belongs to the dark ages. There is nothing that captive orcas can bring to this story that other plots can't do just as well. In a time where people are fighting so hard to bring an end to this sickening circus, this movie has essentially given it the nod. Now in cinemas across the world, people will be exposed to the image of performing orcas...when it should be one that is fading into the distance. The aquarium that aided this movie will benefit hugely financially and therefore be able to continue their current exploits. The star claims to have a repulsion to animals in captivity...I doubt that, for this is much worse than "captivity" is a circus. There is no education to be gained from viewing a top predator in a completely bare and sterile pool, performing tricks (not seen in the wild) for dead fish. How is it that people recoil in disgust at the thought of a dancing bear but pay to go and see something that works on the exact same concept. Anyone with a true aversion to captivity would find being there, supporting it and promoting it unbearable....thus they would never be there in the first place.