4 Reasons to see “Becoming Cousteau” The inventor of scuba diving at the Fremantle Cinema
The documentary “Becoming Cousteau” just hit the Luna Cinema in Fremantle. Kate, Antoni and many of our diver friends were at the Premiere to (re)-discover the life of the Captain that created our passion. If, like us, you were in age to watch Television in the 80-90, wherever you might have lived in the world, you certainly discovered the underwater world through the eyes of the crew of the Calypso research vessel. Let’s go straight to the point, we are giving a 5-sea-stars review to the documentary that will show you how much of an impact he played in the modern world.
1) You will discover who invented the modern scuba diving equipment
As Cousteau explains it at the beginning of the documentary, the adventure always starts with curiosity. As freediving was rediscovered in Europe, Cousteau was getting the urge to go deeper, stay longer and be free. He could have done with the already existing hard suit but the cord was limiting too much it’s need of freedom. That’s why with the help of an auto engineer they redesigned a car regulator to fit a tank and created the first “Aqualung”. In “Becoming Cousteau”, you can see the first image of a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (scuba) diver walking in the water. That scene is funny, as you can see the diver climbing down a cliff (and we complain about North Mole in Fremantle) before entering the water with 3 heavy tanks and a Wool speedo for all wetsuits, but also this moment will change many lives in the future.
2) You will see behind the scene of the first underwater movie!
From the start of the movie, we discover that Cousteau has many faces: Adventurer, sailor, inventor, business man. But the one that has marked the world is its film making ability. He built one of the first camera housing and during one of their expedition they started recording “The Silent World”. The movie will win many awards among them a Palme d’or and an Oscar! I like you to find and discover that crazy movie. He tells you about an expedition aboard the Calypso vessel. They are filming the underwater world for the first time and showing to the public things that has never been seen before. Obviously, they film with the point of view of man of the 20th century. They have no ecological conscience, they hate sharks, touch everything and eat everything (as you can expect from french men). That movie represents well what humankind though of the sea in those times: an endless and bottomless mass of water that could not be changed. As you will see in “Becoming Cousteau” his philosophy will change after discovering the damage that were done.
Even if the “Silent World” is a Master Piece, Cousteau only becomes famous with its TV series “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau”. About 60 hours of documentary all over the world. As the same time that David Attenborough was making us discovering the planet, Cousteau was exploring the underworld. The crew of the Calypso documents a world that has almost disappeared nowadays. The variety and quantity of life in those docos are just crazy and heartbreaking. While, the way of the underwater world is now wildly open, so many things have been lost.
3) You will see how Cousteau went from the oil industry to sea advocacy
“Becoming Cousteau” shows us a pivot point of Cousteau life. Being the first scuba divers, they were able to land a juicy contract to explore the sea in search of black gold. They could have kept in that way and become extremely rich but fortunately for us, Cousteau love of the ocean and cinema got him out of it once the bank account was full enough to start exploring again. The documentary shows extremely well the evolution of the crews philosophy. From using dynamite to catch fish, their life will lead them to participate to the pourpaler that will eventually makes Antarctica an industry free zone. I loved how the movie shows the evolution of the character, but it hurts to see how much sad and cynic our lovely captain was getting.
4) You will also meet one of the most important woman in the world of scuba diving
I was keeping the best for the end. Simone Cousteau has been a major role player of the invention of scuba diving and the travel of la Calypso. Their sons tell us that she spending more time on board the vessel than any crew member including the Captain. I don’t know if she was shy, but unfortunately she would not be often in front of the camera. Nonetheless, the scuba diving community owes the “shepherdess” a great deal. She was the nurse, host, organizer and of course a scuba diver on the boat. She helps the creation of the first aqualung and financed the first expedition of the Calypso. I really appreciated that the “Becoming Cousteau” gave her a good place in the movie and honor someone that had such an impact on our lives.