Becoming Cousteau


Adventure / Biography / Documentary

IMDb Rating 6.9 10 225

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 26, 2021 at 12:15 AM



Louis Malle as Self
Vincent Cassel as Self - Narrator
864.52 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 33 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by CinemaSerf 7 / 10

Who's the man in the red beanie hat?

For folks used to watching the beautiful undersea imagery from the likes of the "Blue Planet" (2001) or it's 2017 sequel, this might seem a little bit unremarkable - but if you watch this documentary on this visionary man, you will soon realise that he and his "oceanic musketeers" were the source of so much of the basic building blocks upon which the latter programmes are based. From designing the "Aqualung" to pioneering waterproof cameras, this Frenchman comes across here as a forward thinking and inspirational figure. Of course he had flaws - much of what he did was funded by and produced for the oil industry, but this film serves to illustrate just how little even those closest to the ocean environment understood about human impact on that space, and gradually how his increasing awareness became the vehicle for a global attempt to profoundly change attitudes towards the seas. His life was not without it's struggles - personal and professional, and though the film does reflect those, it doesn't dwell on them: this is essentially an interesting and compelling story of a man well ahead of the curve. The photography is astonishing; not so much the beautiful underwater stuff, but of his early life - he clearly was a film maker long before anyone saw commercial returns from such ventures. It's let down a bit by the nature of the production. It uses a lot of out-of-vision commentaries and interviews which are sometimes quite hard to follow, and the contemporaneous chronology of the narrative means we don't really get any retrospective, objective, sense from his peers as to his achievements or his vision. Still, for many of us who remember his television series of the 1970s, thus film is an interesting reminder of our time on the "Calypso". A time that clearly demonstrates that pollution and climate change issues have been an high profile issue - and have fallen on many a deaf ear - for many, many years.

Reviewed by ferguson-6 7 / 10

the man in the red cap

Greetings again from the darkness. For anyone under age 35, it may be difficult to imagine a world where high-definition cameras don't blanket every nook and cranny of our planet. These days, there are multiple channels serving up nature and oceanic documentaries, many with stunningly clear and colorful underwater photography. Each of these owe a debt of gratitude to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and documentarian Liz Garbus is here to make sure we all know it.

Jacques Cousteau trained as a Navy pilot, but a serious accident drove him to swimming as therapy for his broken body. It's there where he became enamored with free-diving and spear-fishing, and Ms. Garbus includes some archival video clips to show those early days. He was soon driven to dive deeper and stay under longer, which led him to co-invent the regulator for Aqua-lung, the early device that eventually allowed for scuba diving and breathing underwater. His co-inventor happened to be the father of his wife Simone, whom he married in 1937. Simone, along with their two sons, spent a great deal of time on the Calypso. The crew referred to her as "The Sheperdess".

This unique underwater access meant Cousteau and his cohorts could perform research never before imagined. Soon they had re-commissioned a boat as "Calypso" and turned documenting the sea into their mission. Cousteau's love of cinema meant that he had to develop a camera that would function underwater so he could film all activities. In fact, it's Cousteau's own video archives that make up much of the clips used by Ms. Garbus here. In 1956, Cousteau and young French filmmaker, Louis Malle, finished their film, THE SILENT WORLD, and the underwater photography was so groundbreaking that the film won the prestigious Palm d'Or at Cannes, and the Oscar for Best Documentary. Cousteau claimed his films were not documentaries, but rather "true action stories". Malle, of course, went on to direct such acclaimed films as ELEVATOR TO THE GALLOWS (1958), ATLANTIC CITY (1980), and Au Revoir les Enfants (1987).

Ms. Garbus does a nice job of chronicling Cousteau's work, and for the many of us who were dedicated followers of his TV series, "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau", that red stocking cap remains a familiar visual. Actor Vincent Cassel reads passages from Cousteau's journals, and we learn that "Diving is the most fabulous distraction you can imagine", and that he was "miserable" out of the water. This matters because he transformed from delivering spell-binding underwater photography to an activist and educator, trying to make the world understand how humanity was destroying the ecosystem and what that meant to our world. All of today's discourse on the topic was indeed started by Cousteau, who proclaimed, "You protect what you love." Liz Garbus is one of our most talented documentarians, as evidenced by her work in such films as WHAT HAPPENED, MISS SIMONE, 2015 and THE FARM: ANGOLA, USA, 1998, and ALL IN: THE FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY, 2020. The first two earned her Oscar nominations, and here she pays tribute to Jacques Cousteau - an explorer, researcher, filmmaker, and activist. She focuses on his professional life, and also touches on his tangled personal life - one that resulted in two additional kids (producers of this film) with Francine (while he was married to Simone), one of the divers on Calypso. We learn of the tragedy in Cousteau's life, and that he and his crew discovered the oil in the Persian Gulf while raising funds for their expeditions. Cousteau is shown at the Earth Summit in 1992, where he is treated as an international rock star. Ms. Garbus' film shows how Cousteau's work helped educate us as he tried to make the world a better place, by giving us an appreciation of the underwater world he so treasured.

Opening in theaters on October 22, 2021.

Reviewed by rannynm 8 / 10

Stunningly beautiful portrail of Jacques Cousteau, explorer and protector of the undersea world.

The documentary Becoming Cousteau reveals the life of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his passion for all things under the sea. I loved learning more about this man, who was a dominate figure during my youth who brought fantastic underwater images into our living rooms.

This film shows Cousteau's love for the oceans, as it explores over four decades of his work and how he became a spokesperson for the environment more than 50 years ago.

I loved watching this film and learned more about Jacques Cousteau than I knew previously. It sort of filled in the blanks of the back story of the man who captured our hearts and imaginations years ago. The cinematography is breathtakingly beautiful, although I wondered why the archival shots at the beginning had not been digitally enhanced. I also found it interesting that even his first dives into the ocean, in 1937, were filmed. Of course, he says several times that he has always been a filmmaker, but still those shots surprised me. He also talks about how he was not a good husband or father and, indeed, six months after his wife died he remarried. Also, he sent his children off to boarding school so he and wife number one could spend their time on the boat pursuing various missions. He was a clever businessman too, which was necessary to keep the funding flowing and we learn how he too on an assignment from British Petroleum to research oil reserves under the ocean in order to finance other projects he and his crew pursued. I remember well his TV series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which aired from 1968n to 1976 and featured Cousteau along with his two sons and grandson. His wife, who did not appear on screen, was sort of the glue that held things together with the crew during these expositions on their boat, the Calypso. The Cousteau Society still exists and continues to carry out explorations worldwide and helps people understand the fragility of life on Earth - the Water Planet. This beautifully produced documentary directed by Liz Barbus (The Farm: Angola, USAP truly is an ode to a remarkable man who changed the course of history by embracing life beneath the sea.

The message of this film is a reminder to take care of our planet and treasure the undersea world.

I give Becoming Cousteau 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, plus adults. Reviewed by R. Levy, KIDS FIRST!

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