The Japanese fishing village featured in 'The Cove,' which won an Oscar for best documentary, defended its practice of hunting dolphins Monday as a part of its tradition. Residents of this remote village nestled on the rocky coast of southwestern Japan expressed disgust at the film, which they said distorted the truth, though few acknowledged seeing it in its entirety. The covertly filmed movie, which mixes stunning underwater shots of gliding dolphins with grisly footage of their slaughter, also claims that dolphin meat is laden with toxic mercury.

Director Louie Psihoyos said 'The Cove' isn't meant to bash Japan but that it is "a love letter to the Japanese people."