The Tale of the White Whale

In 1965, the Beluga whale 'Moby' was caught off the coast of Canada, put in a holding tank and taken on board a freighter. He was destined for a zoo in England. But one year later, Moby caught the attention of the world as he was discovered swimming into Europe through the Rhine River.

'Moby Dick', as he was called, was washed off the freighter by a wave and fell into the Atlantic Ocean. He eventually entered Holland at Rotterdam and journeyed upstream in the highly toxic Rhine River. For weeks, Moby was chased, surrounded, pushed, and even shot with a narcotic gun. His extraordinary presence turned him into an international phenomenon.
People came out in droves to witness the passing of what they saw as mysterious visitor from the ocean depths.

But, Moby's life was in terrible danger, not from humans, but from the river itself. How could he survive in the heavily polluted Rhine River?
Scarred from the toxins, but persevering, Moby continued upstream to Bonn where thousands greeted him. His arrival made such an impact that even the German parliament came to a halt.

It was these remarkable events that marked the beginning of modern ecological awareness. Moby made Europe see that its rivers were in grave danger. It was the beginning of a new era.

Rich with archive footage, THE WHITE WHALE retraces the story of Moby and his legendary trip. The film recalls his strange persistence to swim to Germany after facing numerous setbacks, it interviews the many people who encountered Moby, and confronts his main adversary, the zoo director, Dr. Gewalt.

Director Stephan Koester is known internationally for his high-quality documentaries and underwater films. His story of Moby moves and asks that we take notice of messengers from the animal world and heed what they have to tell us. 66' or 52'