Friday, September 26, 2008
The Big Blue
Le Grand Bleu; adventure drama, France / USA, 1988; D: Luc Besson, S: Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette, Paul Shenar, Sergio Castellitto, Griffin Dunne
When they were kids, Jacques Mayol and Enzo Maiorco were contesting in free diving somewhere around the Greek coast. But Jacques' father died in sea during the diving. Sicily, 1988. Enzo still continues to enjoy diving without equipment, as well as Jacques, who met American reporter Johanna in South America who fell in love with him. Enzo challenges Jacques in a diving contest, who accepts and sets a new world record by diving 114 meters bellow the sea level. Enzo also falls in love with Johanna, but she becomes pregnant with Jacques. By trying to break the world record, Enzo dies from the water pressure. Jacques quickly loses his interest for life. One night he goes to the sea and swims together with a dolphin.
As some already mentioned, trying to describe "The Big Blue" and make it 'appealing' towards the wider audience would be an incredibly ungrateful assignment. The seemingly thin story about diving and nothing else doesn't seem attractive or interesting to the general viewer, but you have to hand it to Luc Besson - he managed to make it look attractive and interesting. For many, "Blue" will be just a too long and unexciting movie for sea fans, yet one only has to catch it's rhythm, from the hypnotic black and white exposition in which the camera "flies" above the sea up to small, neat details, like the one where Enzo Maiorco and Jacques Mayol (real life free divers (!) here played by Jean Reno and Jean-Marco Barr) spontaneously jump into the pool and sit on the bottom to find out who of them can stay longer under water without equipment, while Besson has an eye for beauty of the water, especially in the scene where Jacques is in his bed and dreams that the sea is falling from his ceiling to him. In it's essence, it actually a dreamy story about a hero who finds his real passion, diving, and the meaning of life in it, no matter how trivial it seems.