Raptures Of The Deep

Vaughan Bell recommends the above short film, Narcose, a French documentary about the world-champion diver Guillaume Néry. He praises the movie for portraying, in real time, “a five minute dive from a single breath and the hallucinations [Néry] experiences due to carbon dioxide narcosis”:

Firstly, the film is visually stunning. A masterpiece of composition, light and framing. Secondly, it’s technically brilliant. The director presumably thought ‘what can we do when we have access to a community of free divers, who can hold their breath under water for minutes at a time?’ It turns out, you can create stunning underwater scenes with a cast of apparently water-dwelling humans.

But most importantly it is a sublime depiction of Néry’s enchanted world where the boundaries between inner and outer perception become entirely porous. It is perhaps the greatest depiction of hallucinations I’ve seen on film.

The director, Néry’s partner Julie Gautier, elaborates:

When Guillaume started to tell me about his visions during his deep dives I [immediately] started to picture it in my mind as a beautiful visual experience with a strong artistic potential. 4 years of reflexion, 3 weeks of shooting, 1 month of post production and Narcose is born. …

[The film] draws its inspiration from his physical experience and the narrative of his hallucinations. Alternating between reality and imagination, the film shows how far human abilities can be stretched and it reveals the intimate and primal bond between the athlete’s inner world and his aquatic environment, bringing the understanding of the human relationship with the underwater world to new levels.