“Jack Goes Boating” 2010
Philip Seymour Hoffman
There is one movie that made me to promise myself that I will learn to swim. No, I can swim, but more like a human frog. Jack Goes Boating is a really sweet romantic comedy directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, and starring Hoffman in the title role. The film’s script was written by Robert Glaudini, based on his 2007 play Jack Goes Boating. What’s interesting – film’s cast was mostly the same as the cast of the play’s premiere . It’s a story of making decisions that inspire you to become a better person. It’s a story of trusting yourself, trusting your vision of what you want to learn and achieve. Not looking so much how others live, because sometimes the seeming paradise gardens, your role models, have the shadiest corners. Jack is a shy limousine driver who meets a woman. She has a dream to go boating in summer, but Jack is afraid of water, he can’t swim. So he spends all winter in a pool and learns to feel safe in water and to take control of his body. As a result he slowly takes control of his life as well.
“Song of the Sea” 2014
Beautifully animated movie Song of the Sea by Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore. This is a second feature film of his co-founded studio Cartoon Saloon, and both were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Song of the Sea has that strange taste of the sea that we must not forget. Mysterious, melancholic and sad. This is the side of the sea that is also filled with so many legends and tales. Song of the Sea is rooted in Irish folklore about the sea, selkies, giants and fairies and all-powerful sea deity Manannán mac Lir. It’s a story about a family that lives on the shore, father is a lighthouse keeper, but mother disappears one night leaving behind a newborn daughter and an older sun. When the daughter turns six, kids go on a magically melancholy adventure to save themselves and bring happiness back home. The animation is gorgeous, it’s hand-drawn and so very beautiful like from your favorite fairytale books. The soundtrack is hypnotizing. And the gloomy palette changes in the end, when the spirits are brought back to memories and glow in a golden happiness. It reminds how crucial it is to sing the songs of our ancestors, to keep the memories alive, to believe in legends, so the sea wouldn’t turn into a vast void, a wet obstacle for a ferry to travel from point A to point B. It’s my mission as well – to sing the songs of the sea.
Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg
Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdal couldn’t swim and had a childhood phobia from drowning but it didn’t stop him to achieve something amazing. In 1947 he crossed the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesian Islands by a simple raft made in the tradition of pre-Columbian South-americans. To prove his supposedly crazy theory that it was possible for South-americans to settle on Polynesian Islands almost 5000 nautical miles afar. No one really believed him although he was working on his theory for a decade. He knew that there is still one possibility how to show that he is right – to try out by himself. Thor Heyerdal gathered a team of childhood friends and one seller of refrigerators who happened to be an engineer and really believed in Heyerdal’s theory. Only one guy on this raft had sailed before. They built balsa wood, bamboo and hemp raft Kon-Tiki, named after an Inca sun god and set sail for more than 100 days. The journey was crazy, frightening and immensely beautiful. Norwegian movie Kon-Tiki makes you a fan of Thor Heyerdal and his amazing life story, dreamers faith and passionate curiosity. This is a first time when a Norwegian film was nominated for both an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Such a stimulating story.
“White Squall” 1996
Would you trust your boys to Jeff Bridges? I think I would, his face radiates a warm heart, whatever role he has. Bridges plays a captain of an old-fashioned sailing ship Albatross. Oh boy, it hit quite hard, salty tears by the end of it. Besides – based on a true story. I believe, it’s not the best of Ridley Scott’s movies, but it still pulled me in quite strong. It’s really warm, really fun and for some moments very sad. Captain Skipper teaches discipline and sailing to a bunch of teenage boys, sent there buy their fathers to learn some fortitude. Bad things may happen at sea, because that’s what it is – deeply beautiful, but untamed beast. Apart from sailing, boat has another dimension too. It is a tiny space in a vast ocean, swelling with questions. What does it mean to be a son? What does it mean to be a father? And, oh boy, what does it mean to become a man? And if you are a captain to a bunch of teenagers, what is your role? Although the movie is set in an era when the first man steps on the moon, these questions never get old. And the sea never gets safe.
“Le Grand Bleu” 1988
“Le Grand Bleu” is a movie by French director Luc Besson. It’s grand, it’s blue, it’s beautiful and loosely based on two legendary divers. Story of two 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. Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic.
“Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” 1953
Robert D. Webb
American adventure movie “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” about Greek American sponge diving entrepreneurs has packed in everything. Romantic love between fighting families, the dirty way how they handle their businesses, the marvelous big blue underwater world, extremely vintage diving suits, a bit overacted acting and even a fight with a giant octopus, which was saved for the last seven minutes of the movie, and was so awkward, that even the Greek boy Tony didn’t tell anyone about it. Long story short – I absolutely loved this movie! With its creaky boats and beautiful sponge beads. “Beneath the 12-Mile Reef” leaves you thinking where is it more dangerous – above or under the water?
“The Swimmer” 1968
To swim home from pool to pool down the valley of wealthy houses. He is the Swimmer, just a wet guy in dark blue shorts, friend to all, or so it seems. The pool plot goes down the valley and down the hole. Absolutely brilliant one of a kind strange movie with retro color palette, caviar pool parties, sugar on strawberries and strong ending. The light blue water is so yummy to eyes as a cold drink in swelter and sweat. “Come with me.”
Really looking forward to see this!
“The Beach” 2000
To become a castaway once meant to involuntary become a sea victim. Living on a faraway island in 21st century has changed its sound in Western ears. From danger and survival to paradise and luxury. Robinson Crusoe embodied both meanings. He was involuntary castaway, but somehow loved it there. I watched a long-forgotten cult movie (with cult soundtrack) The Beach by Danny Boyle and it tells another kind of story – of a 21st century paradise that becomes a living hell. Watch your wild wild wishes. Bushes behind palm trees are swarming with contradictions. Subject still alive and well.
“All is Lost” 2013
J. C. Chandor
77-year old Robert Redford is alone at sea. No dialogues, almost no words at all. Just he, the boat and rough and tough Indian Ocean. Redford later said his co-star was the water.
“Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” 2004
Hadn’t seen this movie for more than 10 years. Now I resonated with it from A to Z. It’s brilliant and alive as a magic organism. As the underwater life itself.
“North Sea Hijack” or “ffolkes” 1979
Andrew V. McLaglen
Classy movie with Roger Moore as an eccentric anti-terrorism expert who has to save the hijacked oil platforms with his eager team. Resembles Hemingway having a strange day.