Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Big Blue (Le Grand Bleu)

Another example of the Cinema du look movement that was established in France in the 1980’s was Luc Besson’s 1988 movie The Big Blue. Besson was credited with two other films made under the movement’s heading, Subway (1985) and Nikita (1990). This method of filmmaking is said to favour style over substance with spectacle taking preference over narrative The Big Blue is certainly no exception to this rule.

The films title refers to the sea, which we are told is a mysterious, magical but dangerous place where two friends since childhood, Jacques Mayol and Enzo Molinari, take part in the extreme sport of competitive Free Diving where competitors attempt to attain great depths, times or distances while suspending their breathing. Besson’s screenplay, although fictional, was inspired by real life Frenchman Mayol and an Italian diver called Enzo Maiorca. Jean-Marc Barr, an actor who has appeared in six movies by Danish director Lars von Trier, plays Mayol while Moroccan born Jean Reno, who has had a long and successful professional relationship with Luc Besson, plays Enzo. American TV and film star Rosanna Arquette play the romantic interest.

Much of the film was shot on the beautiful Greek island of Amorgos and coupled with Carlo Varini’s cinematography makes it a stunning watch. Although this English speaking French film was not very successful in the USA it was the most financially successful film shown in France in the 1980’s where it played continually for a year. This lightweight, but enjoyable comedy, is something that the French do very well. But it certainly divided the critics see what you think!

The beautiful Island of Amorgos.

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