Film Fridays – ‘The Big Blue’

Film Fridays is a project initiated by Sarah and I. After doing a daily music challenge for a month last year we talked about doing something similar for movies. The current global lockdowns give us the perfect excuse to start. Many of us are confined to home with only the TV for company so we thought we would start ‘Film Fridays’ so that we can talk about our favourite movies and hopefully give our readers some ideas for things to watch. If you join us please tag filmfriday and link back to one or both of us so we can read your own contributions!

We would be delighted if you would join us! We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in out hearts, and any personal memories they evoke. 

Sarah and I have shared our lists and decided to tackle them as written – in my case in alphabetical order because I am sad like that….

‘The Big Blue’ (1988)

The trailer is on Youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82onGmBx9ZM

This movie from French director Luc Besson is a highly fictionalised adaptation of the real life friendship and rivalry between champion free-divers Jacques Mayol ( Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo Maiorca (Jean Reno). The movie gives Mayol a fictional girlfriend, Johana, played by Rosanna Arquette at the height of her Hollywood fame. The story takes them from a childhood in Greece in the 60s through to a tragic diving competition in Sicily in the 80s.

Free-diving competitions consist of diving without equipment, on a held breath, as deep as possible – the records are in excess of 100m depth. The stresses on the body at these depths make this an extremely dangerous sport. Really though, the movie is not about the sport, just as ‘Field of dreams’ was not really about baseball at its heart.

I first saw this in the 90s but never really appreciated it until seeing it again after a conversation with my friend Dominique over at 3cstyle.

Why do I love this movie?

Well, you will know by now that I really appreciate good cinematography – and this film is possibly the most visually beautiful I have seen. The poster, above, represents the movie well. The childhood scenes are shot in a gorgeous crisp black and white but then the story moves forward to the 1980s in a sudden immersion in Mediterranean sunshine and azure blue sea and sky. It quite takes the breath away.

The original score by Eric Serra is worth watching the movie for by itself. In fact it is on my spotify playlist. For some unfathomable reason the US edition replaced the score with one by Bill Conti – make sure you see the film with Serra’s astounding and beautiful music. This should be easy as DVD and BluRay editions only have the Serra score.

The performances are uniformly great. With regards the characters – I identify with the character of Jacques so much that it is actually almost painful for me to watch the film.

The original final scene, which I won’t spoil, was deliberately ambiguous. (The US version had a tacked-on happy ending but this version is no longer available)

That original final scene haunts me at the moment and I can’t stop daydreaming about it.

13 Comments

  1. A long yet amazing film. And I agree with you regarding Eric Serra’s music -incredibly beautiful. I still have the soundtract tape (remember those) somewhere in a box. Now, we are going to talk tomorrow about your «daydreaming»… Much love!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I looked at the dvd box again last night and saw it is nearly 3 hours long and wondered ‘how did Dominique cope with that?’ I know you don’t like long movies so this one must be really special!
      I still have some tape cassettes in a drawer but nothing to play them on! They are there to remind me which albums I want to buy to replace them!
      Looking forward to talking with you. Love and hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wonderful film to add to the Film Fridays, Darren! I loved it for all the reasons you’ve mentioned, the cinematography is amazing and beautiful, the actors are fab and the music fantastic – I’m so glad I never watched the American version!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I have no idea how I missed this, Darren! Sorry. WP Reader leaves some things to be desired. This sounds interesting, love those behind the scenes look at things, even if it’s not a movie specifically about free diving.

    BTW, I watched Chicken Run only to remember that I had seen it in the theatre when it came out! It was still fun to re-live though, thanks 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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