“Free Fall” (video)

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After posting Julie Gautier’s underwater dance video “AMA” the other day, I was led to watch some of her other short films.  She is not only a talented underwater choreographer, dancer, and freediver, she is also an incredible filmmaker.

Gautier’s husband, Guillaume Néry, is a championship freediver (diving without any breathing equipment), author, and public speaker.   Here is the video Julie made of her husband diving into Dean’s Blue Hole, located in the Bahamas.   A blue hole is basically an underwater sinkhole, and they are common in the Bahamas.   This video was filmed entirely on one breath.  

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That tempting dark blue is just nothingness all the way down.

In “Free Fall,” Nery slowly makes his way down a gentle incline of pure white silty sand toward the edge of the sinkhole (Dean’s Blue Hole is 663 feet at its deepest point).  He stands at the edge of the abyss for what seems an eternity, and finally dives down into the darkness, and it seems just like he’s flying.   When he lands, it’s not at the deepest part of the blue hole  (I don’t think reaching 663 feet is possible for freediving — no one can hold their breath that long); I’ve read it was around 300 feet or a little over that.   But who cares?  It’s still mind blowing.   It’s really like another planet under the ocean, with a different sort of “air” that allows you to fly down into canyons, and rock climb back up to the top with ease.  

“Free Fall” is quite possibly the coolest video I have ever seen.   What’s so amazing about it is no special effects whatsoever have been used.   Everything you see here is exactly as it happened, from Julia’s perspective (who was filming it and probably also there to provide her husband with an oxygen tank, if any problems developed).

How can something appear to be so completely exhilarating, and at the same time be so utterly terrifying?   The darkness and depth of that blue hole is spine chilling, but when the camera pans upward toward the sunlight filtering down deep into the darkness,  I had to catch my own breath in awe.

The song (“You Make Me Feel” by a group called Archive) is pretty great too.  I think it’s just perfect for this video.

Please watch and comment!

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“AMA”: another deep water story.

This video may be one of the most beautiful, sublime, and unusual things I’ve ever seen.   It’s a short film called “AMA” by underwater dancer/freediver Julie Gautier (I found it while watching a series of other diving videos, which I’ve been kind of obsessed with for a couple of days for some reason).  I promise this video isn’t as disturbing or depressing as the last one I posted, though you may find the emotions it evokes rather sad (I did).

It was filmed at The Deep Joy/Y40 in Padua, Italy, which is recognized for being the deepest swimming pool in the world.

I’m amazed by the length of time this woman can hold her breath, even though it may have been carefully edited to look seamless when it may have actually been filmed in separate takes.

I’m not going to try to interpret what story she is telling here.  In Julie’s own words under the video:

“Ama is a silent film. It tells a story everyone can interpret in their own way, based on their own experience. There is no imposition, only suggestions. I wanted to share my biggest pain in this life with this film. For this is not too crude, I covered it with grace. To make it not too heavy, I plunged it into the water. I dedicate this film to all the women of the world.”