New film "Oceans" gives fish-eye view of sea life

Mon Dec 7, 2009 12:44pm EST
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By Mathilde Gardin

PARIS (Reuters) - New French film "Oceans" not only allows viewers to swim among the fish, but opens a window on underwater lives filled with emotion and fraught with danger.

It is over fifty years since celebrated French diver and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau shot the documentary "The Silent World" and technical advances have made it easier to capture life from the perspective of a fish, the film's directors say.

"We invented all these devices to be fish amongst the fish, to witness what we have done to our environment and, when there are big catches or pollution, to see it as the fish see it," one of directors, Jacques Perrin, told Reuters.

It is more than 10 years since "Microcosmos," the award-winning exploration of the life of insects which Perrin narrated and which provided an eerily close-up look at tiny creatures living in grass.

Thanks to new camera techniques, "Oceans" allows for jarringly violent shots of spider crab wars, full-tilt dolphin chases, portraits of sea creatures caring for their young and wonderfully ugly oddities such as the Asian sheeps-head wrasse.

"Our machines do not open with one spectacular character but with an intimacy with an animal one has never seen until now and which, just like that, we become attached to," added Perrin.

New methods include encasing cameras in special boxes, allowing divers to glide alongside skates or swim shoulder to fin with large white sharks.

After two years of preparation, four years of filming and one of editing, "Oceans" comes out in France on January 27, a month after the environmental summit in Copenhagen.   Continued...

<p>French producer and director Jacques Perrin poses during an interview about his film "Oceans" in Paris December 5, 2009. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes</p>