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THE DOLPHIN MAN: He filmed freediving in the dark and dangerous depths. He discovered the mystical side of unknown (PHOTO) (VIDEO)

"We met dolphins in Israel and no matter what anyone tells you about them when you experience personally an interaction with dolphins you realize that they are incredible creature"

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It is rare that we come across a documentary which leaves you breathless with its story. However, the "Dolphin Man" is precisely a movie like that. It is a documentary about Jacques Mayol, one of the pioneers in now popular sport - freediving.

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This film shows his exciting and spectacular life, which has shifted all boundaries. His spectacular and exciting life and the boundaries he moved, inspired Luc Besson to make a movie The Big Blue, which overthrew all the popularity ratings and became one of the cult movies.

The portrait of Jacques Mayol, who reached the limits of human mind and body, presented through stories, conversations, and friendships from Mediterranean to Japan, from India to the Bahamas, with his children Doty and Jean Jacques, as well as to the world's freediving champion William Trubridge, Mehgan Heaney-Grier and Umberto Pelizzari.

Telegraf.rs talked with the director of the movie Lefteris Charitos who revealed to us the details of diving and how the filming of this documentary looked like.


  • What do you find fascinating about the life of Jacques Mayol? What inspired you to do the documentary about him?

Jacques Mayol was a bigger than life person. He lived his life to the fullest. He traveled the world doing what he loved most: to dive. He devoted himself to the sea and the life of marine mammals. He discovered all there is to know about the human body’s physiology when one goes deep under the water.

I think the sea was a great inspiration for me coming from a country that is full of it. Also, a man who devotes himself to one thing and who purees it to the end is a great inspiration to me.

Foto: Promo


  • How would you describe the transformative experience of free-diving? Have you ever tried it yourself?

I have never tried free-diving and after completing the film I do not think I ever will. It is a mystical experience and one that is a difficulty for anyone to understand.

Like William Trubridge says, “going deep is a journey inside yourself” and when one finds one’s self deep into the sea one is very alone with his thoughts and that can be a very exciting but also very dangerous situation.

Foto: Promo


  • What can you see underwater in those situations?How long can a person hold breath underwater?

The world record when you go down using fins is 300 meters. You can understand the pressure and the darkness at that depth.

It is out of our understanding that all free divers experience total solitude deep into the sea while at the same time they are holding their breath. They cannot breathe at all. Breath is what keeps us alive.

Foto: Promo


  • Do you think this sport is risky? How does it look like to film underwater?

It is very risky. It is one of the aspects that people in the film talk about. It is not so risky if one does it properly.

You must always dive in the company of others. Then the risk is significantly minimised. My cinematographer, Stelios Apostolopoulos, is the person who specialises in filming underwater, I never do, I do not know how.


  • Did you have any dangerous experience? Tell us something about that.

Nothing too dangerous for me or the crew. You must always make sure that everything happens under extreme safety. Our cinematographer always had a safety diver with him to ensure that all is happening safely.


  • What is the most incredible creature that you had the opportunity to see underwater?

Despite the fact that we filmed in many places around the world we never really came across strange creatures. We met dolphins in Israel and no matter what anyone tells you about them when you experience personally an interaction with dolphins you realize that they are incredible creatures.

Foto: Promo

Very intelligent, they recognize people they know and are not friendly if they do not know you. We had to use a camera person that dolphins knew in Eilat in order to get close to them. Our own was strange to them and they would never get close to him.


  • What is the most dangerous situation that you have been in while you were filming?

I think Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas is not dangerous but it strikes you as a miracle of nature. 200 meters deep by 200 meters width is pretty awesome for a hole in the sea. And it is so close to the shore. Only 5 meters away. You walk into the sea and there it is. A huge opening in the earth. And you dive down and all gets dark but at the same time, you know that you are inside a huge hole.

Foto: Promo


  • Did accidents happen often and how long people train to accomplish this mission?

People who free-dive have died. Also, they often faint while coming to the surface. It is something that no-one gets to know well enough in order not to pass out.

It is only normal beaches of the nature of free diving that danger is around the corner. As with everything dangerous one must know exactly all the physiological reactions in order to be safe. That takes a few years to master.

Foto: Promo


  • Do you think that the movie "Dolphin Man" will inspire the young generation to try this popular sport?

I hope it does. Jacques Mayol started a legacy of breath-hold diving having in and to get people close to nature and not to have them compete for records. Being able to swim next to sea creature as if you are one of them is a unique experience.


  • What are the best places in the world to try freediving?

Definitely Greece, in Kalamata we host many events, the Mediterranean in general. Then Dean’s Blue Hole in the Bahamas for sure, the Red Sea in Egypt, the Blue Hole in Dahab, the Gili islands in Bali, Indonesia.

Foto: Promo

The documentary will be played on 26th and 27th December in Cultural Center of Krusevac, in Art Cinema in Belgrade on 26th and in Cultural Center of Zrenjanin on 27th.

This movie won the Grand Prix at the 21st International Underwater Film Festival in Belgrade, where it also had the premiere in Serbia on December 15th.

Foto: Promo

Watch the trailer:

(Telegraf.co.uk / A.Taskovic - a.taskovic@telegraf.rs)

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