Jean-Michel Cousteau talks about his documentary, aiming to premiere at next year’s Cannes.

Odyssea 3D

Nearly 60 years after his famed father Jaques Cousteau won the Palme D’Or for The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure, his son Jean-Michel Cousteau comes to Cannes in support of his documentary Odyssea 3D. 

“Every other breath you breathe comes from the ocean,” reminds the explorer, activist and film-maker. “So if we protect life underwater, then we are protecting ourselves.”  

Using prototype cameras from Japan - the film uses revolutionary high-speed shooting and macro photography, courtesy of 3D Entertainment and its co-directors Jean Jacques and Francois Mantello, to capture creatures in the sea never before seen.

The advanced technology is 4k and 3D, but different to other forms of video capture, operates at 90 frames per second, making it difficult for the human eye to detect an image through the lens. 

“My father and I were always ahead of the curve when it came to technology, but it has now evolved to levels I could not have ever imagined. I’m like a little kid – this technology is incredible!”

The seasoned filmmaker, who has worked on over 80 docs, uses marine biologists who swim ahead, and with a stills camera, find rare species. Cousteau and his team follow behind in an attempt to film the same living creatures.  

“Because we often can’t tell what we’re filming, we have go back up to the water, look at our footage, and around 50% of the time, go back down again to re-film,” explains Cousteau.  

A promo reel shown by Conquistador Entertainment in Cannes showed awe-inspiring images of a shrimp with a lost leg, an octopus changing colours and microscopic plankton that shimmer like dust particles are seen with a depth of field so sharp, viewers feel taken along Cousteau’s underwater odyssey.   

The Mantello Brothers, who have worked on numerous IMAX films in 3D, attest to the film’s high level of quality, disclosing that it was shot natively in 3D, helping to give a fuller immersive experience.

Over 85% of the film takes place in the water near locations including the Sea of Cortez, the Bahamas, California and Fiji.  

A completion date is scheduled for next spring, with an aim to premiere in Cannes.   

“I want to honour my dad - he was my friend, my inspiration. Sometimes he was tough, but he should have been tough,” confides Cousteau.  

The documentary stays once again in the family, with his son and daughter also assisting on the project. 

“I’ve taught my children this, and I want to teach the world: The Earth has been given to us free of charge – and we are adding 100 million people to it every year.  

“We need to become better managers since species are disappearing all the time. We have the ability to change – to make use of available energy, to recycle water, to keep the ocean clean.

“Now let’s all jump in the water and get wet!” he proclaims.