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The Odyssey (L'odyssée) [DVD]
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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.
Jacques lives and breathes adventure and 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.
Jacques is willing to sacrifice everything to achieve his dream.
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Lambert Wilson's performance as the underwater explorer proves to be compelling because the portrayal does not shy away from his faults whilst not hammering home the fact that his relationship with nature is now rather tarnished. Much of this film concerns his relationship with his son and his poor treatment of his wife but the central feature of this film centres around his detachment from reality. His insistence with the belief that man's future lay in communities beneath the sea and his ambitious but ultimately doomed projects are only matched by his poor business acumen. I would have to say that because his story was largely unfamiliar, this film was something of a revelation. Beneath the veneer of his own films, Cousteau is portrayed as a well-meaning amateur, oblivious to the risks of exploring Antarctic and unsympathetic to his family. There are moments of excitement such as a shark attack but the thrill of this film for me rested with shedding some light on a TV personality from my youth and the exceptional cinematography. The latter is worth another star alone.
I found this film to be fascinating. It is very well filmed and sometimes attempts to be profound. Audrey Tautou is perhaps a little under-used whilst Pierre Niney offers a portrayal of Cousteau's son whose own ideas about conservation are shown to be more understanding and progressive. I felt that this film is a feast for the eyes and would recommend it to anyone familiar with Cousteau's own films. Whilst the film is quite slow paced , it is a really good story that concludes with the film's subject having something of an epiphany on a particularly ill-fated project. Had my childhood perception of Cousteau proved to have been correct, this could have been a dull film indeed. As it was, Cousteau was far more multi-faceted than I had appreciated and it is his abundant flaws which make this film so riveting. I really enjoyed this film which proved to be more thought provoking than I had thought.
i enjoyed the film and it bought back happy memories,i met him once and i eventually became a marine biologist,all thanks to JYC.
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