Many words can be used to describe Jacques Cousteau – French inventor, explorer, filmmaker and ecologist – but he is best known for pioneering society’s knowledge and vision of the ocean. The documentary Becoming Cousteau tells the ocean of his life.
This documentary takes viewers to the edge of the ocean and underwater to swim and see what is really happening under the sea, floating with the corals and fish. Cousteau unveils the phenomenon of what lies beneath and describes to the viewer exactly what happens underwater.
“It’s like you’ve been ushered into heaven and then sent back to Earth,” Cousteau said in the film.
He was a huge superstar even before the era of social media and captured myriad videos and images to showcase the underwater world that most people will never see.
Although Cousteau was a popular celebrity after his invention of the Aqualung – the technology used for scuba diving as well as underwater cameras for video and photography – he didn’t care about his personal fame. Instead, he wanted the focus to be solely on the outside of himself.
He despised the word “documentary” and dubbed his most popular film, “The Silent World”, which won an Oscar in 1957like an adventure movie.
Cousteau originally created the Aqualung with his partner Emile Gagnan to allow people to explore the ocean together. Later, he used his work for educational purposes to help raise awareness of the urgency of protecting the ocean from pollution and caring for the environment.
He had always made movies that really showed people why they should care about the ocean. Coutseu emphasized her natural beauty through her incredibly talented cinematography and highlighted her open and continuous thirst for exploration.
Cousteau used his boat called Calypso for research and exploration and lived there with his family and crew. As he traveled the world and saw the ocean change over time, his focus also changed. He didn’t always care about the state of the environment, but he always cared about the ocean and wanted to show people why they should too.
Over time he saw how the environment was changing and urged people to care about protecting the ocean because in doing so they were protecting the earth as a whole.
He saw the ocean begin to break down and even traveled to Antarctica to conduct research with his crew, witnessing insecticides as well as heavy metals and other pollution plaguing the ocean. Although it was obvious that Antarctica was the least polluted place on Earth, he saw that pollution was becoming a problem there and harming all wildlife, including the precious penguins.
As a result, Cousteau generated an urgency for Antarctica to be considered a reserve, so that it could be protected and its decline prevented.
Cousteau also raised awareness of the need to protect coral reefs as well as other plants and animals on the ocean floor.
“For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he begins to realize that in order to survive he must protect it,” Cousteau said in the film.
This plea came at a time when few cared about environmental protection or understood the need to keep the ocean clean to prevent environmental hazards. He made sure to educate people around the world through media and travel, informing them why they should care deeply about protecting the ocean.
Cousteau wanted to show people that the ocean is linked to life on land.
This documentary captivatingly introduces a new generation to the most influential person linked to environmental protection.
His innovation with the Aqualung led mankind to breathe practically underwater, which was first imagined by Leonardo Davinci himself. This curiosity has not only led to exciting water sports, but it has sincerely advanced the understanding and knowledge we have of the ocean today. Shark Week probably wouldn’t even exist without this technology.
This documentary not only shines a light on the importance of taking care of our oceans, but is essentially brought to life by the wonderful footage taken by Cousteau and his crew. This film even uses footage never before seen by audiences and tells more of its story than most people have ever known before.
Watching this film is like traveling to an underwater universe, which will give audiences around the world the sudden impulse to buy a boat and become an oceanographer themselves.
Madison Wanco can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.