Skip to main content

ATLANTIS

France, 1991 (MIFF 1992)

Director: Luc Besson

Three years in the making, Atlantis is Luc Besson's labour of love — a rhapsodic, exotic journey through the wonder-filled world of marine life. "I wanted Atlantis to be an underwater opera, a tribute to the sea, con­sisting only of pictures and music," says Besson. "If it contains any message at all, I hope it comes across in another way — in the pure, immediate splendour of sensation."

As much as Atlantis celebrates this silent marine world, it contains grim reminders of the ecological catastrophes that already have depleted much of this ecosphere. Atlantis was filmed in the waters of the Galapagos Islands, New Caledonia, the Seychelles, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, French Polynesia, British Columbia, Florida, the Bahamas, North Pole and the Red Sea. Here, the audience views first-hand the ecological tragedy known as deep-sea fishing and the disasters wreaked by tanker waste, nickel mining and pollution.

However, the warning is salutary. Besson also manages to uncover a treasure trove of immense value, one that directly makes humankind responsible for its own destiny.

The project evolved directly from the expe­rience of making The Big Blue. Having mas­tered the challenges of underwater photography, Besson wanted to accommodate this underwater world more centrally. As one would expect from the director of Nikitn and Subway, great attention has been paid to the visual and aural qualities. Filmed with custom-made wide-screen camera equipment and filled with musical accompaniments from Eric Sena's synthesizer score to a Maria Callas aria, it demands to be seen and heard on the big screen.

See also...

SUBWAY

Fred, a punk-coiffed eccentric, gatecrashes Helena's classy birthday party, stealing some compromising documents that belong to her influential husband Pursued by the husband's henchmen. Fred finds ... More »

THE FINAL COMBAT

A fantasy about the survival of the fittest, the film follows the adventures of one young survivor of cataclysm in a devasted world-especially lacking in women. Anxious to find a mate, he ... More »

Ab Irato

A classroom full of attentive children, every teacher's dream. But Madame finds herself in the midst of a nightmare when she tries to out­wit them is a series of Eco-esque verbal puz­zles ... More »

The Invisible Man in Blind Love

1990's computer animation creates a comic par­ody of a 1950's detective story. The massive technology behind this simulated period piece is never boasted, as content, style and an old fashioned ... More »

The Wedding

"The ecstasy of vertigo lays down my body into the ashes from my silent wedding..." ... More »

VAN GOGH

... ... Maurice Pialat's long-awaited Van Gogh comes as a surprise because it takes a new slant on the great Dutch painter's life. The sumptuous production omits many of the sta­ple elements of ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director