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Sunday, July 16, 2017


A watchable film about the life of Jacques Cousteau. (Review by Patrick Compton – 6)

The Odyssey is a watchable film about the life of Jacques Cousteau, the French ocean explorer who enchanted generations in France and Britain 60 years ago. Cousteau's TV programme, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, introduced me and millions of others to the mysteries and splendours of the deep.

The movie, which cost 20 million euros and took five months to film, takes us to the frozen wastes of Antarctica and to the Bahamas, among other exotic locations, in his famous boat, The Calypso.

Lambert Wilson is excellent as the explorer while Amelie Tatou is convincing as his often put-upon first wife Simone with whom he had two sons.

The movie (in French with English subtitles), directed by Jerome Salle, details Cousteau’s not altogether spotless private life and family struggles as well as his remarkable pioneering career as an undersea explorer who often has to cut corners in order to secure sponsorship.

It’s a moot point, however, whether the film will appeal to younger generations who will barely have heard of Cousteau because the movie’s underwater footage is commonplace given the current high standards of photography that we see in the average David Attenborough nature programme. Still, it is an interesting story about one of France’s most beloved celebrities.

The film opened in Durban on Friday, July 14, 2017. – Patrick Compton