Director Luc Besson’s third feature, The Big Blue also remains his most personal film to date. The son of two diving instructors, Besson grew up by the sea and first saw the champion French diver Jacques Mayol when he was sixteen. Mayol provided the inspiration for this epic paean to the lure of the sea, whose simple plot involves the friendly rivalry between two divers. Besson cast the then virtually unknown Jean-Marc Barr as the Mayol figure, a loner who is out of place on dry land and haunted by the ‘Big Blue’. Besson’s own fascination with the mystique of the sea imbues the film with a poetry, but most impressive thing about The Big Blue is the astonishing diving sequences, which look spectacular in 70mm.
France, 1988.Filmed in English.70mm print.120 mins.