Which scuba diver doesn’t know the father of modern scuba diving? I know I’m not the only one who was dreaming of underwater adventures during my childhood in the ’90s while watching incredible documentaries of Commander Cousteau. Not only he was the first to win the Cannes Film Festival with a documentary movie, The Silent World, but he was one of the earliest advocates for the Ocean and launched the first modern breathing apparatus, the aqualung regulator, with Emile Gagnan in 1945, forming in 1946 the Spirotechnique company that will become later Aqua Lung (they just celebrated their 70th anniversary).
Scuba divers all over the world still admire his dedication to scuba diving and the ocean. It was widely known he was a strong character but he is considered a hero in France. In my home town of Nantes in France, a square is called after him. Honestly, I’m proud to be a French scuba diver and his work is a continuous source of inspiration for me and my diving blog. Today, his children and grandchildren are still keeping his heritage alive with many research, movie and environmental projects.
When I learnt that a biopic about Cousteau’s life was shot in the South of France, Croatia, South Africa, the Bahamas and Antarctica, I was overly excited. My friend Philippe from CIP in Marseille was part of the underwater shooting team and I was excited every time he was sharing a picture from the shooting.
Here is the pitch of the movie:
“Summer, 1946. The Cousteau family – Jacques, his wife Simone and their two children Philippe and Jean-Michel – live in their beautiful house by the Mediterranean Sea. By day they dive, by night they watch the stars. It’s paradise on Earth. But Jacques is never content. He lives and breathes adventure and believes absolutely in the virtues of progress. With his invention, the Aqualung, his recently acquired vessel the Calypso, and a crew of free-spirited adventurers he is ready to cross the world’s oceans.
Ten years later, back from the boarding school to which he was sent with Jean-Michel, Philippe finds his father greatly altered – an international celebrity with megalomaniac dreams of grafting gills to humans and creating underwater cities. Jacques cannot see it yet, but Philippe already understands that progress and pollution have begun to lay waste to the submarine world. Despite their mutual love and admiration, violent conflict between these two passionate men is inevitable. But on their greatest adventure together aboard the Calypso, in Antarctica, they will find each other – before tragedy strikes.”
Staring famous French actors Lambert Wilson as Jacques Cousteau, Pierre Niney as Philippe Cousteau and Audrey Tautou as Simone Cousteau, the first trailer let us see some breath-taking images and vintage scuba diving gear. Here is the trailer:
Update Aug 2017: The movie was released in France on the 12th of October 2016, I saw it and I cannot recommend you enough to go and see it. It shows well how Cousteau was not into protecting the environment at the beginning of his career and how life got in the way and changed him.
The movie will be released in the UK and Ireland on the 18th of August. I will be keeping an eye on a release in the US and Canada.