Monday, May 20, 2024

The Deepest Breath (2023) Movie Review.

Zecchini was so ambitious that it made him tense and temperamental. She pushed herself really hard. So did other free divers. But then, in 2017, during a competition in the Bahamas on Vertical Blue, Zecchini met Keenan in his capacity as a safety diver. He offered to train him after Zecchini was taken out in double dives. She thrived and broke a world record three days later (102 meters). The next day, her record was broken by Japanese phenom Hanako Hirose (103 meters), which led to Alessia breaking Hirose’s record the next day (104 meters). This triumphant experience strengthened the bond between Zecchini and Keenan. “The Deep Breath” is also a love story.

The pressure of the deep ocean is hell on the human body. Divers risk brain damage and permanent lung damage. There is something called “squeezing the lungs” and you really don’t want that to happen to you. Divers often go dark underwater and must be quickly brought to the surface by safety divers. CPR is administered while everyone is still in the water: there is no time to even pull the diver into the boat. There is traumatic footage of the moments when the divers return to the surface, and they crash, their faces and bodies frozen in a full body grip. Freedivers wear wetsuits and monofins, making them look like superhero mermaids as they dive into the black. The pressure that pulls the divers is called “free fall”. Divers say it feels like flying.

McGann collected as much existing footage from the various races as possible, plus video recordings of Zecchini and Keenan, video blogs, Instagram stories and more. They documented their lives. Other free divers weigh in and there are some conventional head interviews, especially with Zecchini and Keenan’s fathers, heartbroken men who had to let their children go, who had to let them pursue this very dangerous thing, incomprehensible to most, but essential to their children’s happiness. Since the free divers are followed by a passionate and talented group of underwater cinematographers, there is existing footage of many of the dives. There are many famous spots that free divers gravitate towards, the “vertical blue” in the Bahamas and the terrifying “blue hole” in Dahab, Egypt, with its deadly “arch”. The Arch is the most dangerous place on earth for a freediver (“More dangerous than Mount Everest,” says one of the freedivers). If you can cross the bow and rise, stay with the greats.

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