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Dolphin Boy

April 19, 2013

The best of documentaries somehow merge the very best of documentarian with the very most in people. Dolphin Boy is one of those extraordinary documentaries that catches within a single tale, the very best, and the very worst of people. And the right documentarians – Dani Menkin and Yonatin Nir – were there to record it on film.

I’m slow to catch documentaries when they are current, so for many of you who stumble on this blog, what I say may be old news as Dolphin Boy came out in 2011.

But I will say it nevertheless: Dolphin Boy is a beautiful documentary. It has all the themes of life – raw, heartfelt.

I never understand how some people can allow documentarians to get so close to them – I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be an actor in my own life – but I love some of those who do. -Which means, of course, that we have to put up with all the shit that is called Reality TV. But that’s a small price. We’re all living in shit – it’s just that some people are in it a little deeper.

And someone has to act in the great parables of life, so I’m glad that Morad’s father allowed the film to happen.

How else would I see a Muslim 17-year-old boy overcome with PTSD be taken by his father to an Israeli Dolphin Retreat at Eilat?

How else to see a Muslim father, whose son was beaten nearly dead by the male relatives of a female schoolmate,  they  mistakenly thought having an affair with the girl; a Muslim father who does not seek retribution – “village style” – even when all the men in his family were telling him t do so. He refused to do so, preferring to heal his son, and letting the courts deal with the men.

Yet, here still is a Muslim man, who to my Western eye, ignores absolutely his wife and daughter – in his pursuit of helping his son. “The blood of his loins.”

After the beating, and after the hospital, Morad is taken to a PTSD specialist – he is completely dissociative. He appears ready for the mad house. In fact, as a last desperate measure before he to be institutionalized, his father takes a leap of faith and takes his son to a new therapy treatment being developed with dolphins on the coast.

The magic between Morad and the dolphins is almost instantaneous. It nearly makes you weep!

And the paradox of his healing – recorded over four years – is that Morad will have to leave the dolphins and return to his village.

Why should he leave? Why?

Oh, my sentimental heart! It would be such a happy ending if he stayed.

But a parable is not about endings. It is about life, and the young man – now 21 – now healed, must return home the prodigal son. Back to his village and his responsibilities to his family.

Beautiful! Simply beautiful!


I found it on CBC’s “The Passionate Eye”

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