walking under water
The film Walking Under Water (directed by Eliza Kubarska) centers around two members of the Badjao tribe of sea nomads in the Sulu and Celebes sea. Alexan, a deep sea diver, and his ten-year-old nephew Sari, who is learning the tricks of the trade as well as the rituals and prayers needed to gain protection from underwater spirits.
Alexan and Sari are part of a community who belong to no country but rather live on the water in stilt houses, travel on the water in boats, and spear fish deep under the water using a basic form of compressor diving (said to be dangerous as well as painful).
The diving scenes are visually stunning but difficult to look at while imagining the challenge of taking in a stream of compressed oxygen through a small tube through a tightly closed mouth and clenched teeth. The diver navigates through fantastical sea life for long periods of time and seems to feel right at home. Later he speaks of other divers who have mythical abilities to stay underwater for hours at a time.
The young Sari is caught between two worlds, that of the Badjao whose way of life is threatened (local authorities try to drive the Badjao off the sea and into slum settlements on land) and that of the tourist divers he sees at a nearby resort. The film does not dwell on this message; rather it shows us a people who move with the rhythms of the natural world and, for a short time, it takes us along for the dive.
(Poland/Germany/UK) 2014 76 min
Saturday Sept 27, 4:45pm VCT
Monday Sept 29, 7:45pm VCT
Tuesday Sept 30, 10am VCT
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