“Le Grand Bleu” (1988) is a movie by French director Luc Besson, the only one of all his films that I didn’t know about. It’s grand, it’s blue, it’s beautiful and loosely based on two legendary divers. Story of childhood friends who are born to dive. Jean Reno in the role of Enzo, a colorful Italian character, the world champion with big bravura. And Jean-Marc Barr as the silent, but dedicated Jacques, who lost his father in Mediterranean sea and now spends most of his time with dolphins. Jacques is an amphibian man, Tarzan of the sea, who can stay underwater or swim around for unbelievably long time, but not for ever. Sooner or later he has to come out and deal with life on the coast. He meets a girl and is tearing himself apart between water and land.
“Le Grand Bleu” is peppered with so many scenes to remember. How they brought a stolen dolphin through an old Italian city at night. Enzo and Jacques are wearing wet swim pants, but Johana follows with pink plastic watering can to keep the dolphin wet while they reach the sea and set him free. How they smoked and drunk in a diving capsule and danced on a seabed singing and laughing. How they jumped in a swimming pool, enjoyed champagne with elegant suits still on and almost drowned. It’s such a wet movie!
Enzo and Jacques are so different, although both share the same passion. There are those who dive to win; and there are those who dive just because it’s who they are – they enjoy it immensely and can’t live without the big blue world and would stay there forever if only they could. There is Enzo, who dives for the records, and there is Jacques, who dives for the mermaids.
Johanna: Tell me a story.
Jacques: Do you know what you’re supposed to do, to meet a mermaid?
Jacques: You go down to the bottom of the sea, where the water isn’t even blue anymore, where the sky is only a memory, and you float there, in the silence. And you stay there, and you decide, that you’ll die for them. Only then do they start coming out. They come, and they greet you, and they judge the love you have for them. If it’s sincere, if it’s pure, they’ll be with you, and take you away forever.
P.S. Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. That explains a lot. Beautiful movie!