The Oceanographic Museum was the venue on Friday for the pre-release screening of Abysses, a 90-minute documentary that tells the story of deep-sea diving and submarine exploration up until present times.

In front of an invited audience, Oceanographic Institute director Robert Calcagno introduced the film’s writer and director, the celebrated French filmmaker Michel Viotte, whose work spans an immense range of topics. He is particularly well-known for his film on American writer Jack London.

Viotte has produced and/or directed dozens of films over the last 27 years, and has worked in a wide variety of roles in the industry and in a very eclectic range of locations. His work over the years has given him an intimate working knowledge of archive sources, and in particular it was fascinating to see footage of Jacques Cousteau, director of the Oceanographic from 1957 until 1988, whose life was devoted to marine exploration.

The technical feats achieved in the making of Abysses represent the inspiration and huge expertise of the filmmaker, while the depths of the oceans speak for themselves in all their natural splendour.

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BELOW: Robert Calcagno with Michel Viotte PHOTOS: Martina Brodie