Interview by Lefteris Charitos / Dolphin Man ..
Director: Lefteris Charitos
Script: Lefteris Charitos, Yuri Averof
Production: Rea Apostolidi, Yuri Averof
Countries: Greece, France, Italy, Canada, Japan (2017)
The documentary tells the life story and legacy of Jacques Mayol, the greatest free-diver in recorded history, whose life became the inspiration for Luc Besson's cult-movie Le Grand Bleu.
The documentary Dolphin Man by Lefteris Charitos has been selected as the opening film of the 6th Peloponnese International Documentary Festival, which starts on Friday, January 17 (8:30 p.m.), starting from Kalamata and travelling to 8 more cities in Peloponnese. The film will also be screening in Sparta on Wednesday 22/1 on 6:30 p.m. Lefteris Charitos will attend the screening of his documentary in Kalamata.
Interview by: Kiriaki Ketikoglou. Kiriaki is a first-year student in the Department of History, Archaeology and Cultural Resources Management of Peloponnese University.
How did you get inspired into filming a documentary about Jacques Mayol?
The idea of the film belongs to my producers, Yuri Averoff and Rea Apostolidis of Anemon Productions as well as Madeleine Avramoussis of the ARTE channel in France. I took over directing after being commissioned to do so. Beyond that my inspiration was the sea, the trips that Majol made in his life, and the element of philosophy that distinguished his life. Also, at times when the disappearance of nature is a major issue, a film like this is more modern than ever.
Jacques was passionate about this sport and criticized those who did it with their ultimate goal being the breaking of a record. What motivated himself to set the goal of breaking that record?
The truth is that if someone watches Dolphin Man he will realize that Majol himself was curious about all this. On one hand he was selfish and always wanted to set a record and break it, on the other hand he said that the ultimate goal was not that. I think he was a split personality. At all levels like many of us, he did not believe in one thing. He was tormented in his life but in the end I think his love for nature was unique. And that's what always led him. In addition to his personal passions and great selfishness he was a man ahead of his time. The ecological issues of modern times had been touched upon by him since the late 50s.
Did you know him?
Mayol committed suicide in 2001. I didn't have the chance to meet him. Travelling around the world, however, I met many people who had met him and this brought me close to him in a strange way. He was a complex personality. I don't know if, with the exception of his Japanese friend Narita, he was loved as a human being. In a sense, every great personality has a special personal and family life. He left his family when his children were very young and he did not see them for many years.
Did you find any similarities with the hero's life, character and interests?
For the three years that this film lasted I thought as if my life came very close to that of Majol. I don't know if I have anything in common. Certainly his need to get up is something we have in common, the fact that he couldn't live in the same place and always wanted to travel is charming. His love for the other sex and his commitment to a goal. On the other hand, I think that through the film I raise the question of how we grow. We live our lives so that when the time comes and our body can no longer afford to be in a state of good living. I wonder if I could ever end my life the way Major did, who took his own life. The question of suicide in Majoli's life but also in general as an option torments humans. Majol chose to spend his life doing exactly what he loved. He was passionate about free diving. So he was a lucky man. But in the end he ran out of people. Beyond all these, the Dolphin Man, was a great adventure for me in and out of the water.
Born in 1969 in Athens, the acclaimed director Lefteris Charitos studied directing and television in London at "Royal College of Art". He has directed a number of short fiction films, television series (Wild Bees, Life Defense) and documentary series (Food Journey). He has worked successfully for 4 years in the educational program "Pame Cinema" of the Ministry of Education and Culture teaching Cinema in Greek and foreign schools. The movie "Dolphin Man" is his first long-film documentary.