Sometimes, when I feel the need to pray, I watch a film like this. It’s absorbing, riveting, meditative. All that fascination doesn’t preclude me from asking why anyone would try to push through physical, mental and yes, emotional boundaries to do this sort of thing. And how do you first discover that this kind of thing gives you a buzz? What does it achieve? I am curious about what makes people do the things they do.
I hyperventilate even before my head goes underwater when I have a mask and snorkel on. It’s something to do with the constriction, I think. I can’t even use swimming goggles. And my ears feel fit to burst a mere 3 feet underwater. The very idea of with the possibility of the bends gives me the heebie jeebies. So there’s a certain amount of envy on my part when I see something like Narcose, the film. Spending a lot of time deep under the sea is something I’ll never get to do. But mostly I feel awe, admiration and astonishment.
Deep water freediving exposes its practitioners to a form of narcosis, which induces several symptoms, among which a feeling of euphoria and levity that earned this phenomenon its nickname of “raptures of the deep”. The short film relates the interior journey of Guillaume Néry, the apnea world champion, during one of his deep water dives. It draws its inspiration from his physical experience and the narrative of his hallucinations.