In “Becoming Cousteau”, dive into the depths of Jacques – Lowell Sun


NEW YORK (AP) – Who exactly was Jacques-Yves Cousteau?

He was an oceanographer and explorer but had no scientific degree. He was an environmentalist whose trips were however sometimes financed by oil companies in search of drilling sites. He was a filmmaker who made underwater documentaries from another world – three won the Oscar for Best Documentary – but he didn’t like the term. He preferred “adventure films”.

Perhaps Cousteau’s legacy is, and rightly so, more fluid. Perhaps more than anything else, Cousteau symbolized a spirit of boundless adventure, drawing an Earthly audience into enchanted underwater worlds. A mermaid of the seas.

In “Becoming Cousteau” by Liz Garbus, an editor named John Soh of ABC’s “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau” struggles with the difficulty of labeling Cousteau to conclude: “He was a man who looked to the future . “

“Becoming Cousteau,” which National Geographic opens in theaters today, attempts to showcase the singular Cousteau and his legacy as the premier conservationist of increasingly threatened waters. It’s a defining documentary portrait of the French oceanographer as a genuinely content fish below the surface.

“I’m miserable out of the water,” said Cousteau, who died in 1993, in a recording of the film. “It is as if you have been introduced to Heaven and then pushed back to Earth.”

The film, which will debut Nov. 24 on Disney +, has a toe in the mystical, dreamy realm of Cousteau’s own creation – the otherworldly underwater photograph he took with Louis Malle; the elegant high seas adventures aboard the Calypso – and another in a more subdued reality of ocean pollution that Cousteau watched with growing concern. In recent years, his popular Emmy-winning nature series has grown darker and more ominous.

“At the end of his life, I think he felt like Cassandra was screaming at everyone about this impending disaster,” Garbus explains. “He certainly suffered commercially for that too. They were like: these shows are depressing. ‘”

Garbus, the prolific documentary maker of two Oscar-nominated documentaries, began developing the film in 2015. But it took years for access to be approved by the Cousteau Society and his estate.

“Becoming Cousteau” may be light on some of the last years of feuds over his sizable empire, but he doesn’t shy away from the intricacies of Cousteau’s evolution from a former naval officer diving off the French Riviera in the Mediterranean. to a world – famous explorer.

Cousteau’s legacy also includes the co-creation of the Aqua-lung, the liberation of scuba diving from clunky devices, and the birth of the use of scuba diving. By JAKE COYLE AP Writer

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