THE BIG BLUE
THE BIG BLUE
"God is at the bottom of the sea and
I dive to find him."
EXT. GREEK ISLAND - SUNSET
The image is in black and white.
The sun disappears behind arid cliffs which cast giant
shadows on the sea.
A little boy around 8 years old -- tanned from head to toe
-- sprints along the cliffs, scrambles from one rock to
another with amazing agility.
In one hand, he carries a transparent plastic bag. In the
other, a net bag containing flippers, mask, pants and
The only thing that slows him down is his bathing suit --
obvious hand-me-downs -- way too big. He tugs on them as
he goes, holding them up... Until they slide again... as
he leaps again... and pulls them up...
The little boy is JACQUES MAYOL.
EXT. GREEK ISLAND - SUNSET
JACQUES reaches a ledge jutting out over a deserted cove.
He spits in his mask... expertly spreads the spit with a
finger... locks his feet into the flippers... and dives.
He surfaces a long way out... adjusts his mask... and
swims away from shore.
IN OPEN SEA
The boy stops swimming -- starts to gulp air -- sucks it
in -- oxygenating his blood in a series of deep rapid
breaths -- almost hyperventilating, almost alarming if
we've never seen this before.
His gaze is glued to the ocean floor. Clear clear water.
40 feet deep. And intensely blue.
Suddenly, he catches his breath and dives -- into the
JACQUES touches bottom. Clamps his legs around a rock to
hold himself down. Unhurried, thoroughly at home, 40 feet
under... he opens the plastic bag. A huge speckled moray
eel appears in a hole in the rock, slithers toward him.
The carnivore's jaws are bigger than the boy's head.
The boy smiles at him. Pulls a piece of raw meat out of
his bag and holds it out. The eel takes the morsel
delicately -- and slithers back into his hole.
Gravely, JACQUES takes another morsel out of the bag.
EXT. VILLAGE - DUSK
JACQUES walks up a steep road bordering the port, almost
Two boys about his age run up the streets; call out, catch
up with him and gesture toward the port.
Jacques! Come quick!
EXT. PIER - DUSK
The little boys tug JACQUES to the end of the pier and
point to something in the water.
Look! Right there! It's shining!
JACQUES walks over, and sure enough sees something shining
a few feet down in the water.
I found it.
Camera pans and we see a middle-aged PRIEST loading
supplies into a small boat. He stops to watch the
children's negotiations. Little JACQUES is putting his
Ok. I'll get it, but no fighting,
The two boys nod as they point to the coin.
We'll split it.
You can't split a coin. That's
He's right. You're stupid.
The pope smiles.
Then we'll buy something and split
It's a small coin.
I don't want a Ferrari... What is
Maybe a little radio.
The two boys look at each other.
Well. We'll decide later. The light
I get the radio from after school,
Since when do you stay up until
All right, all right... Can I
concentrate? And you can stop
pointing. I've seen it.
I've seen it too.
The voice is ENZO'S. Another young boy wearing little
Shit, it's the Italian!
He is slightly older than JACQUES but he is taller. ENZO
is with ROBERTO, his younger brother, the only one allowed
to carry his flippers. Five kids are behind him.
Well, if it isn't the little
Frenchman! How is the little
ENZO pats JACQUES on the shoulder and leaves his hand
there -- a lightly intimidating gesture.
You don't mind if I go instead, do
pretending not to
If you did mind, you'd tell me,
ENZO pats his shoulder reassuringly.
(to his brother)
Roberto, mio palmo!
ROBERTO who has already started to moisten his big
brother's gear in the water, holds a pair of dripping
flippers and a glistening mask. The pope watches the
scene with obvious pleasure.
(to his brother on
the edge of the
Sure of himself, ENZO takes a deep breath and dives in the
water. ROBERTO counts out loud.
1... 2... 3...
The kids all walk over to the edge of the pier. A few
feet away, JACQUES takes off his flippers.
4... 5... 6...
ENZO bursts out of the water, the coin in his hand. The
children cheer and clap. ROBERTO rushes to catch the
equipment that comes flying at him, piece by piece.
ENZO walks over to JACQUES.
(showing him the
Who's is it now? You saw it but I
dove for it!
JACQUES doesn't answer.
ENZO smiles and slowly puts the coin in his pocket. He
pulls it out again and waves it under JACQUES' nose.
Roberto? How long?
ENZO looks at JACQUES for a while.
I'll throw it back into the water.
You dive and if you do less than
six, it's yours.
JACQUES doesn't say anything, then finally shakes his
head, negatively. ENZO smiles, taps him on the shoulder.
The first boy finally sums up his courage to speak.
Enzo? I saw the coin first... We
You can't split a coin, stupid.
ENZO laughing, sticks the coin in his pocket and leaves
the pier with his gang.
The pope smiles and pulls a coin from his pocket.
With his flippers dangling from one hand, JACQUES sadly
stares out at the sea. The pope calls him over.
Jacques... Come, look.
JACQUES goes over to him, sees where he is pointing, the
faint gleam of the coin underwater.
Is it a coin shining down there?
It is. It's a coin! I'll get it
for you, Father!
It'll be for the poor.
JACQUES, intent on the coin's glimmer, quickly slips on
his fins, prepares his mask. He swims in the water like a
fish, goes directly to the coin. Scoops it up, brings it
to the surface.
He breaks water, waves the coin, looks for the priest and
sees he is no longer there.
He looks at the ancient impression on the coin -- "Boy on
ON JACQUES - UNDERWATER
He's swimming near the spot where he fed the moray eel.
He senses something behind him and turns around. He sees
a dolphin, still and silent, floating vertically. It
seems to be watching him. The surprise is such that
JACQUES is in a panic, leaps up to the surface...
ON JACQUES - IN BED
He bolts upright, as if suddenly awakening from a dream.
INT. ROOM - ON JACQUES' FATHER - DARK
A BURLY MAN, around fifty, crosses the room in the shadows
and throws open the shutters with a bang. Sunlight pours
in. He walks over to JACQUES' bed in the one room house,
and runs his hand through his hair.
(with a smile)
... Come on, time to get up,
JACQUES rubs his eyes. His father walks over to a pile of
blankets on the floor, on the other side of the room. He
gives the pile a kick.
(screaming at the
top of his lungs)
Louis, wake up!
He uncovers a kettle on the fire and ladles up a big bowl
of soup for Jacques. A fifty year old man pokes his head
out from under the pile of blankets. It's UNCLE LOUIS,
who is having a very hard time, waking up.
EXT. HOUSE - DAY
JACQUES bursts out of the house, running. Diving gear
under his arm. A piece of buttered bread in his mouth.
He catches up with his father and UNCLE LOUIS. They're on
a path winding down to the port. JACQUES slows down
abruptly. Tries to imitate their stride. The weather is
balmy and the sea lies before them, peaceful and blue.
EXT. SEA - DAY
Their boat on the water. The chug of its ENGINE ECHOES
off the cliffs. A few gulls -- drawn by the sound -- skim
the waves of its wake.
EXT. BOAT - DAY
On board. JACQUES' Father checks the antique air pump.
JACQUES polishes the enormous copper diver's helmet and
lays out the rest of an old fashioned deep sea diver's
At the foot of an old monastery another boat passes.
The Priest is in it.
JACQUES' Father and LOUIS take off their caps. JACQUES
takes the gold coin out of his pocket.
The pope nods to JACQUES. His father looks over at him
without understanding. The child quickly puts the coin
back in his pocket.
EXT. BOAT - DAY
LOUIS casts anchor. A few feet away, siting on a rock,
the kid with little round glasses is fishing. He turns
around to the boat. JACQUES smiles and waves at him.
ENZO waves back, obviously disturbed in his fishing
Jacques, come help me.
JACQUES helps his father into the diver's suit. The burly
man struggles into a pair of weighted lead shoes. He
seems sluggish and tired. JACQUES watches worriedly. He
has a weird feeling.
You shouldn't dive everyday, Papa.
Then you shouldn't eat everyday,
His father catches him fondly by the scruff of the neck.
(winks at him)
Don't worry. When I'm tired down
there, the mermaids help me out.
Father and son smile at each other. Then his father puts
the helmet on. JACQUES joins LOUIS at the pump.
The heavy diver's suit disappears slowly underwater. The
gleaming copper helmet is the last thing to slide out of
JACQUES and LOUIS work the pump. Regular, steady motions
to maintain the flow of air.
Hey! Have you ever seen a mermaid?
They keep on pumping for a while, then...
I've seen them.
UNCLE LOUIS goes on. JACQUES doesn't budge.
Don't you want to know where?
JACQUES looks at the bottom to watch his father.
He doesn't answer.
UNDERWATER - JACQUES' FATHER
He moves along slowly in his cumbersome diving suit. He
is working the top of a rock outcrop on the sea floor. He
sees a sponge, hooks it; puts it in a bag that's attached
to a life line from the boat fastened to his waist. He
INT. BOAT - JACQUES AND LOUIS PUMPING
They keep up the rhythm. Sitting on a rock at a distance,
ENZO watches them. UNCLE LOUIS is bored stiff.
Why don't you ask me?
Where I saw the mermaids?! Why
don't you ever ask any question?
I'm always the one asking the
question! We're sitting here like
two stones and I'm taking to myself.
Ask me something, Goddamnit!
JACQUES calmly looks over at him, slows down his pumping
and almost serenely asks him:
(in a completely
Why did my mother leave?
UNCLE LOUIS seems disturbed by the question. A beat.
(ill at ease)
Come on now, pump!
UNDERWATER - JACQUES' FATHER
He is walking with difficulty at the bottom. His bag is
full of sponges. He seems to be having trouble breathing.
EXT. BOAT - JACQUES AND LOUIS
JACQUES and LOUIS are pumping silently. UNCLE LOUIS feels
obliged to answer JACQUES' question.
UNCLE LOUIS finally breaks the silence and explains:
Your mother didn't leave. She went
back to America, that's all. It's
her home. She's allergic to this
Island. She likes refrigerators and
machines that clean the floor... so
one day she left. Woman are like
that, unpredictable, like the sea.
They haven't been paying attention to the bubbles gushing
at the surface. The air hose is being pulled down in a
very worrisome way.
(with a slight grin)
So where did you see mermaids?
UNCLE LOUIS smiles.
In the bars in Athens!
Very pleased with himself, UNCLE LOUIS burst out laughing.
JACQUES shyly shrugs his shoulders. The air hose is
suddenly yanked down. JACQUES immediately sees all the
bubbles. He is white as a sheet.
JACQUES rushes to the side of the boat and starts yelling
down at his father. He grabs the life line and starts
pulling at it hysterically. The air hose snaps and
starts flying around like some crazy snake. JACQUES tries
to jump overboard. UNCLE LOUIS catches hold of his foot
at the last second. JACQUES is slapping the water with
his hands, trying to go down but UNCLE LOUIS won't let
him. JACQUES is yelling desperately. ENZO is now
standing on his rock, watching the scene, horrified.
The sea now looks as if it were boiling.
UNCLE LOUIS grabs hold of JACQUES and hugs him in his
arms. Standing on his rock, ENZO is now crying
The last air bubbles are now breaking on the surface; it
looks as if they will never stop.
EXT. ITALIAN VILLAGE STREET - DAY
The image is now in color.
A rocky pink cliff over looks the very bright sea which
fills the screen.
SUPERIMPOSED: 1987 SICILY
ALFREDO runs (skips) up the cobbled street as fast as he
can go, surprisingly fast.
He runs to the large terrace of a restaurant which he
enters. We have time to read the sign carrying the
restaurant's name: "LA MAMMA".
INT. RESTAURANT - DAY
ALFREDO skips in. He is panting, covered in sweat. His
panic is palpable. The whole room watches him approach a
long table where a large family is having a birthday party
for a very old lady.
He has to stop a second and catch his breath before he can
get the words out. Then leans over and whispers in the
ear of a great big man -- around 30 -- built like a bull,
wearing little round glasses.
The man listens, then stiffens.
EXT. HARBOR - CONSTRUCTION SITE - DAY
A beat-up FIAT, towing an equally beat-up trailer, stops.
ENZO unfolds out of the driver's seat, like a circus clown
emerging from a toy car.
The construction SUPERVISOR, an American, wearing a three
piece suit, hurries over to him.
ENZO has already started undressing. ROBERTO unloads the
diving gear from the trailer.
(shaking his hand)
How did it happen?
The company asked me to extract
everything I could from the wreck;
so the divers were trying to get at
the engine... and then the boat
turned over... in the current...
and... look, I fucked up! Can you
How many are, down there?
ENZO goes back to the car.
Just one... We're feeding him air,
but he's not breathing regularly...
You've got to get him out fast.
ENZO glances at the map, then at the accident site.
You're going to hold me up at a time
You do understand you're talking to
the champion diver of the world?
Yes, but ten thousand dollars...
ENZO opens the trunk of his FIAT and pulls out the jack.
He slams the trunk shut, and stands looking at the
American, straight in the eyes.
Okay. You tell me. How much would
you say the man's life is worth?
Extremely uncomfortable, the SUPERVISOR doesn't answer.
In my village, we have a saying:
when the wind blows, the flags of
all nations flap in the same
What does that mean?
That you should get your checkbook.
EXT. UNFINISHED PIER - ENZO
He's at the end of the pier, his feet dangling in the
muddy water of the port. A few feet away a pump sends air
HISSING through a rubber tube to the diver trapped below.
ENZO inhales steadily, his chest heaving like a bellow.
He carefully puts his spectacles inside his shoes, dons
his flippers, etc., with his usual flair of suspense.
Behind him the SUPERVISOR and other construction workers
watch expectantly. ROBERTO heaves a stone weight into the
bay, a cable attached to it plays out from a drum on the
ENZO ignoring everyone, grabs the ordinary tire jack,
flip-flops over to the now taut cable, the stone has hit
bottom. He takes a deep breath and dives into the bay.
UNDERWATER - WRECK
ENZO dives down a chimney of muck. Picks his way over and
around every hazard, until he reaches the diver, trapped
under a huge piece of debris.
He pats his shoulder to comfort him, he then inserts the
tire jack under a piece of concrete... And, as if he were
changing a tire, begins to pump the handle...
Slowly, in a swirl of mud and water, the chunk of debris
rises off the diver's leg.
EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE - DAY
Everyone is staring at the water silently, suspensefully.
The SUPERVISOR has his checkbook in hand, but has
completely forgotten it, intent upon what's going on
underwater. ROBERTO taps him on the shoulder.
Since we have a little time, what do
you say you write that check?
UNDERWATER - WRECK
ENZO cuts the cables tangled around the diver's torso.
Then he takes off his flippers, plants his bare feet on
the concrete, grabs the diver by the shoulders and pulls
The diver drops the air tube and climbs as quickly as
possible toward the surface.
EXT. CONSTRUCTION SITE - DAY
The diver surfaces, gasping for breath. A cheer goes up
from the crowd. Several men hurry to pull him onto dry
land. But there is no sign of ENZO. Everyone waits,
(to the Supervisor)
Suddenly, ENZO appears, burst out of the water, holding
his flippers up in the air like a trophy. The onlookers
cheer, help him out of the water, slapping him on the
ENZO tosses the jack and his flippers to ROBERTO.
Impassive and silent, he slips his arms into the prize
fighter's robe that ROBERTO holds out for him, walks
solemnly back to his car.
ROBERTO takes the check and walks over to the car. ENZO
bends down into the car and opens the roof.
(through the open
Thanks, thanks a lot. I mean that
too... You extortionist bastard!
The car rushes off. In the distance we see a police
(carabinieri) car and an old fire engine rolling in the
direction of the construction site.
INSIDE FIAT - DRIVING AWAY
ENZO'S car drives past them. ENZO looks at ROBERTO out of
the corner of his eye, then suddenly explodes with joy.
Dollars, Roberto! We took him for
ten thousand dollars!
ROBERTO whoops and whistles. ENZO reaches over and leans
on the horn. The little car races by and finally stops at
the top of the cliff facing the sea.
EXT. TOP OF CLIFF - DAY
The two brothers sit back, relax.
Stare out to sea.
(after a while)
Enzo, what are you going to do with
Have the car painted.
Santini will do that for 25 dollars!
Then tell him to wax it too.
Enzo, really. What are you going to
A rosary for Mama, a dress for
Angelica, something with rhine-
stones for what's her name, and get
yourself a suit that fits... But
Find the Frenchman. Find me Mayol.
EXT. FLAKES OF SNOW - MOUNTAINS - DAY
Mountain peaks, stark and white. A winter sky which is
strangely and disquietingly dark. A landscape swept by
SUPERIMPOSED ON SCREEN: PERU - LAKE HUACRACOCHA - MAY 1987
A yellow light comes out of the storm -- advances toward
us. The headlight of a train.
A narrow gauge locomotive steams up grade pushing piles of
snow in front of it.
INT. TRAIN - DAY
Sitting in the train, leaning against the misty window,
JOHANA CROSS, 27, has clear quick charm and a sort of
romantic fragility. She is dressed simply but warmly.
She looks through the window; all she sees is white.
It is clear that she was not the one who decided on this
trip. Reading the key phrases from a beat-up note book,
she calls upon an old Peruvian.
Is this the Lago del Demonio?
(Es bien aqui el Lago del Demonio)
The old man goes into a long, rambling explanation.
JOHANA nods without understanding a thing.
EXT. TRAIN STATION - DAY
The train pulls in, slowly pushing piles of snow in front
of it and finally stops in front of an old shack which
serves as the station.
A man, FRANK, bundled in a parka, comes out of a
snowmobile parked by the station, and walks up to the
JOHANA steps down, carrying her suitcase and drops two
feet in the snow as she comes off the last step. FRANK
walks over and leans down towards her.
Welcome to Peru!
INT. SNOWMOBILE - DAY
FRANK throws the luggage into the back of the snowmobile,
jumps in and turns the ignition on. JOHANA takes her hat,
scarf and gloves off. FRANK glances over at her, he is
both amused and charmed.
Don't you have a heater?
(hitting at the
Yeah... Sure... Is this your first
trip to Peru?
Does anybody live to make a second?
FRANK smiles and kicks the heating system, then leans over
to check it, his eyes off the road.
(a little worried)
Forget about the heater!
EXT. LAKE OF THE DEMON - CAMP - DAY
The storm is at its peak. The frozen snowmobile plows
along side the lake HUACRACOCHA and stops in front of a
cluster of quonset huts almost completely buried in snow.
FRANK gets the bags out of the back. The suitcases are by
now frozen stiff. JOHANA follows in his steps.
A couple of llamas are huddled up against the hut in
attempt to protect themselves from the storm.
JOHANA is bewildered. Shacks in the middle of the Andes,
the lake of the "Demon", and now llama that have to be
pushed aside to enter one's home.
As FRANK opens the door, a man is leaving the hut. The
man is JACQUES MAYOL. JOHANA and JACQUES pass each other
in slow motion. Everything seems suddenly suspended:
time, sound, cold...
JACQUES MAYOL instantly makes an impression on her. He is
now 34, still dark-haired, with dark eyes. He is wearing
a red diving suit and a pair of round goggles. He looks
like some legendary creature one would dream about.
Everything finally regains its formal speed. The door
slams, the man is gone. She and FRANK are in the middle
of the entrance hall. JOHANA hasn't yet gotten over the
vision she has just had, but she regains composure and
enters the next room.
INT. QUONSET HUT
JOHANA happily takes her gloves off.
FRANK puts down the bags and walks into the next room.
It's a sort of laboratory, filled with ultra modern
A big bay window overlooks the lake on which is built a
long wooden dock.
Sitting in a corner, an old Peruvian man is preparing hot
drinks. JOHANA drops into a chair.
A drink to warm up?
Yes, thank you. Intravenous if
(pulling out a flask)
Tea... or whiskey?
... both. Did I just see a man in a
red suit and goggles?
FRANK smiles and pours some whiskey in her tea cup.
Dr. Lawrence? The insurance man...
uh... The insurance person is here!
It's about time!
FRANK smiles and pours JOHANA some tea. She warms her
hands on the cup. She asks blankly.
Would it be out of place to ask what
The guy in the Halloween suit!
LAWRENCE comes in from the other side of the room.
He walks straight over to the bay window.
Did you have a nice trip? We were
getting restless, it's been three
weeks since the accident.
JOHANA walks over to the bay window and starts staring at
something in the distance.
EXT. DOCK - ON JACQUES
At the end of the dock, JACQUES who is sitting on the edge
of a hole which is cut in the ice, is putting a pair of
gloves on. He then grabs the handles of a strange machine
which emerges from the water and starts taking deep
breaths, oblivious to the cold, his mind completely
BACK IN LAB
JOHANA watches JACQUES. She just can't believe her eyes.
LAWRENCE is bent over one of his machines, fiddling with
You should get things moving, you
know. We're out of equipment and we
can't do half of our experiments...!
Frank, check the program!
JOHANA is finally able to speak.
Who... Who is that?
Mayol... Jacques Mayol.
That's the experiment? Dumping a
guy into a frozen lake?
LAWRENCE turns one last knob.
... The truck fell into a very deep
crevasse. We weren't able to save
I'll have to talk to the driver.
In the spring when he melts!
JOHANA walks closer to the window. She isn't hearing a
thing he's saying.
JACQUES is putting on his flippers.
JOHANA can't believe it.
JACQUES is standing by a hole cut in the ice. He is
holding onto the machine in the water. He is waving a
You really send him under the ice?
He isn't a slave or a convict or
My dear, science is a cruel
But... how is he going to breathe?
He isn't going to breathe.
JACQUES takes a deep breath, turns a handle and a weight
yanks him straight down into the water. LAWRENCE sets his
stop watch off and flips a few switches.
JOHANA grabs his arm as if they could do something about
He raises the volume: we hear the man's heartbeat through
a small speaker.
That's his heartbeat.
Can you hear the speed at which it's
slowing down, it's incredible.
LAWRENCE tears off the sheet with the heartbeat measures
on it and hands it to JOHANA.
JOHANA feels she's on the verge of crying, and can't
figure it out.
UNDERWATER - JACQUES
JACQUES stops his machine by turning one of the handles.
He's deep beneath the surface of the frozen lake. He
swims deliberately, carefully into a large tube which is
hinged open. He closes it around himself. His heart is
still slowing down. He pushes a button on the machine,
and a flash of light bursts in the opaque night
BACK IN LAB - ON VIDEO SCREEN
We see a moving X-ray image.
He's in the fluoroscope now. Listen
to his heart. Impressive, huh? The
flow of blood is concentrated in the
brain and doesn't even feed the
limbs anymore. It's a phenomena that
has only been observed with
dolphins... until now.
How long can he stay down? Without
It depends. He should come up soon.
Unless he's decided to stay for the
Why is he doing this?
For one thing, it's his job... as
for the rest of it, I wish I knew.
JOHANA sighs with relief as JACQUES appears at the surface
in one big breath.
Shouldn't somebody take him a
blanket or something?
(smiling at Frank)
Coffee might be nice.
She heads towards the Old Peruvian and pours a cup of
Will he understand Spanish?
His mother's an American. He spent
half of his life in the states. I'd
try English if I were you.
EXT. DOCK - JACQUES SURFACING
He's groggy, half hypnotized. He looks up at the dock,
sees JOHANA with a cup of coffee. He stares at her. She
hands him the coffee.
I recognize you.
We saw each other a little while
In the lake?
(wondering whether he
is joking or not)
No... in the hut.
After a long beat...
(with a beautiful
Then it was somebody that looked a
lot like you... Thank you.
JACQUES then turns around and walks toward the huts.
JOHANA still hasn't moved, as if petrified by her emotions
and the severe cold. She then walks up to the hole in the
ice and peers into the dark water. She shudders.
INT. CABIN - DAWN
JOHANA emerges from a down sleeping bag. She's wearing a
big sweater and a wool hat. She is not sleeping.
Intrigued by the sound of the snowmobile, she gets up and
walks over to the frozen window. JACQUES and FRANK are
loading their luggage onto the snowmobile.
Outside, LAWRENCE is saying "Goodbye" to JACQUES. Unseen,
JOHANA also waves from behind her curtain. JACQUES senses
something: he turns around toward the cabin and smiles,
waving his hand at JOHANA. She hides behind the curtain
and shyly waves back.
JACQUES gets into the snowmobile and drives out of the
frame. We are left with an endless array of snow-caped
EXT. COTE D'AZUR - DAY
Fixed image of the Cote d'Azur. The sparkling blue sea
fades into the distance.
A French taxi rides along the winding road overlooking the
INT. - TAXI
From behind all his bags, JACQUES obsessively stares at
The driver smiles.
It's beautiful, isn't it?
We had some bad wind this week. The
"Mistral"!! "Peuchere"! There
isn't one olive left on its tree.
It suddenly left us this morning...
I sure won't be the one to call it
EXT. ANTIBES - ROAD TO MARINELAND
The taxi comes to a stop in front of Marineland. JACQUES
gets out, carrying one of his bags.
(to the driver)
I'll only be five minutes.
He enters Marineland.
EXT. MARINELAND - ON JACQUES
The park is closed, the paths are deserted. JACQUES
approaches the Dolphin's tank. All three dolphins rise up
in the water. Greet him with a click and clatter of
tongues. JACQUES sits down at the edge of the tank.
Good morning, everybody! Did you
sleep well? I slept in a plane, and
it wasn't too great.
He opens his duffel bag. Hunts around, comes up with two
packages wrapped in brownpaper. The dolphins stare at
The dolphins CACKLE some more.
You think I'd forget you?
He laughs. The driver, who seems to be quite familiar
with the place, walks in heading straight over to the soda
machine. Out of the corner of his eye, he takes in the
scene, very intrigued.
JACQUES has not noticed him.
He starts unwrapping the first package.
He produces a little ceramic Llama.
looking at the llama, bewildered. As bewildered as a
dolphin can be. JACQUES turns the llama upside down. It
moos: HIAK, HIAK...
It's a Llama. You understand? From
Peru. It's fighting.
BATHSHEBA shakes her head. JACQUES throws the llama into
the water. He unwraps the second package. A pair of
Peruvian gloves and hat. Wide eyed, the driver sits in
the stands to watch the show.
That's for you, Darjeeling. We
wouldn't want you to catch cold!
He throws them to DARJEELING who catches them.
"Ta, da..." For you Tina.
He pulls out a thermos.
Something you've never seen either.
He opens the thermos.
He sprinkles snow flakes on TINA'S head. She tries to
(smiling like a
A new experience, Tina.
I missed you little rascals. Did
you get my post card?
The three dolphins leap into the air and land with a huge
splash which soaks JACQUES. He takes his shirt off.
(pretending to be
Oh? Is that what you want?
Alright, but five minutes, no more.
I have a taxi waiting.
He takes off his pants. The taxi driver gets up, as if to
keep him from going in. JACQUES dives into the pool.
UNDERWATER - ON JACQUES
He swims under the dolphin, reaches out and grabs hold of
the dolphin's snout.
The dolphin pulls JACQUES around and around the basin
while JACQUES pets his chest and belly. We have never
seen JACQUES so relaxed and happy.
EXT. MANHATTAN - DAWN
Overview of a gray and dirty Manhattan morning. JOHANA
depressed, stares blankly out of the window of a yellow
cab. She watches the muddy brown water flow under the
The driver keeps yelling obscenities to all the cars
EXT. MANHATTAN - DAY
A suitcase in each hand, JOHANA gets out of the cab and
walks up the stairs of her apartment.
INT. HALLWAY - DAY
JOHANA puts down her suitcase wearily. Catches her breath
and gets out her keys. She tries one in the top lock. It
doesn't work. She tries harder. There's a woman's voice
yelling angrily from inside the apartment.
I changed the lock you son of a
The door opens.
You're back! Hello. We were
They got the new T.V.
JOHANA comes in, looks at the ransacked apartment.
... And the new stereo.
I hope they remembered to take the
microwave this time?
Yep. How was your trip...? Help me
clean up, okay?
You called the police?
They're going to send detectives.
When they get around to it.
So what, all they ever want is your
phone number anyway.
JOHANA goes over, slumps into an easy chair and sighs.
After a beat...
How was your trip?
Nice... Very interesting... Great!
... I guess.
Okay... Who'd you meet?
JOHANA opens her handbag, takes out the strip of
electrocardiogram paper, hands it to her.
A cardiogram...? You met a doctor!
Congratulations, you're in the
Unless they have socialized medicine
in Peru. Do they?
It's his heartbeat.
Oh Jesus...! I'll make some coffee.
They left the stove.
INT. APARTMENT - LATER
The living room is almost completely put back together...
SALLY is replacing books in the bookcase, JOHANA is using
a carpet sweeper, and talking away.
6'3", 6'1", maybe 5'9" -- You can't
be sure, you know the flippers, they
add height or they take it away, or
something. Anyway short dark hair...
Not punk or anything, just short.
And the cutest smile. He wasn't
smiling at me, I don't think -- just
smiling. And he thought he saw me in
the lake. I mean that was a figure
of speech... They're so romantic,
(bored, half asleep)
I thought you said he was Peruvian?
Haven't you been listening?
SALLY opens the drapes, revealing it's dawn outside.
... Since eight o'clock last
night...! You're in love.
Don't be a jerk.
There's no such thing as love at
UNDERWATER - SWIMMING POOL
JACQUES is swimming alone at the bottom of a gigantic
swimming pool. He wears a monofin, his head and chest are
wired up to an assistant who runs back and forth alongside
A man's feet are seen walking over to the side of the
JACQUES is swimming laps, arching his body like a dolphin.
As he approaches one end of the pool, he sees a coin
slowly falling in front of him. JACQUES picks it up and
looks at it: it's an old Greek coin.
JACQUES smiles and swims to the surface.
EXT. ON SIDE OF SWIMMING POOL - DAY
JACQUES pokes his head out of the water and pulls off his
ENZO stands over him, smiling.
Jacques, my friend, how are you?
I leave you swimming and twenty
years later, you're still in the
water! What the hell are you doing?
An uneasiness sweeps over ENZO'S face and quickly
You never would have recognized me,
huh? Check out the suit! Looking
good, no? You know I'm the world
Yes, I know.
I dove 315 feet!
They say I'm like Lazarus. You
know, the guy who was raised from
He laughs. JACQUES smiles. ENZO goes on.
Doesn't it surprise you that I just
show up like this... Listen, the
world championship starts in ten
days in Taormina. Be my guest.
ENZO puts down an airplane ticket on the side of the pool.
Surprised, JACQUES looks over at the ticket.
Because I'm sure you're dying to
(shaking his head)
I don't want to be in any
competition... I dive because I like
to, not to beat a record... don't
you have to be very mad at somebody
to want to beat him?
No. All you need is to want to be
You're the best, Enzo!
(with a tense grin
on his face)
That's too easy! Every time I beat
a record there's always some
dumbshit asking me: "D'you know
that French guy, Mayol? He's
supposed to be very good! Too bad
he doesn't compete." So, you're
going to come with me to Taormina!
First, because you're my friend and
second, because you don't have one
reason to keep on spoiling my
(he pushes the
airplane ticket to
... I'll see you there...
EXT. OFFICE BUILDING - NEW YORK - DAY
INT. DUFFY'S OFFICE - DUFFY - JOHANA
She is seated across the desk from him. He's reading
through her report. Behind him, outside the large plate
glass window, window-washers are seated on a scaffold
suspended far above the city. They eat lunch.
JOHANA'S eyes wander (bored) around the office as DUFFY
reads. He looks up.
This is good work... unfortunately
(he glances at the
Could you eat a sandwich 40 floors
above the street.
Johana, am I boring you?
Sorry. Of course not, definitely
not... well, maybe a little. What
did you say?
I said that the file is incomplete.
See if you can get through to this
Lawrence character and have him send
the Peruvian registration for his
missing truck... and don't let him
tell you it was in the glove
She starts out of the office.
(to her back)
Did the driver really freeze?
Like a popsicle. They're keeping
him on a stick until spring.
My God! I'm glad I didn't go.
(under her breath,
... So am I.
INT. QUONSET HUT - PERU - DAY
Doctor LAWRENCE covers one ear with his hand as he yells
into the phone.
... I said, all the truck papers are
in the glove compartment!
INT. JOHANA'S OFFICE - MANHATTAN
JOHANA sits at her desk, she too is yelling into the
telephone. Her colleague looks over at her and smiles.
(with a sigh)
Okay, listen, just get the custom's
office to send me a copy as fast as
possible. We can't send you new
equipment until our file is
INT. QUONSET HUT - PERU - DAY
Okay, okay. You'll have it by the
end of the week, how's that?
You've made me a happy insurance
He is just about to hang up.
INT. JOHANA'S OFFICE - MANHATTAN
JOHANA jumps up.
JOHANA starts snooping around the papers on her desk,
embarrassed by the presence of her colleague.
(as softly as
You don't know how I could reach
that diver of yours... Mayol... We
need some additional information...
I mean, we have a few questions to
INT. QUONSET HUT - PERU - DAY
The last thing I heard, he was off
to Taormina for the world diving
championships. That's Taormina, in
INT. DUFFY'S OFFICE - DAY
JOHANA dashes in without knocking.
Listen, I just found out we've got
real problems in Sicily!
What d'you mean?
The mafia! La Cosa Nostra!
Coppola! De Niro...! I knew it! I
knew we shouldn't have written that
The documents are forged.
Yes! The notary is a phony. He has
the same signature as the
It can't be true!
We have to send somebody over there
immediately! If we prove the
forgery we can cancel the policy.
We'll be off the hook. There's a
flight to Rome in two hours and from
there its just a short hop to
(reaching for phone)
I'll send Cardoza, he'll be able
I tried him, he can't go. His son
is being Bar Mitzvohed tomorrow...
I'll go, boss.
I thought it was Spanish that you
(after a beat)
Italian is practically the same
EXT. PORT OF MESSINE - DAY
A ferry comes into the dock, as a plank is slowly lowered.
As it descends, four rail cars lie in wait in its belly.
JOHANA comes off the boat, carrying her suitcase, she
wears a light summer dress. She looks around, seeming a
A white FIAT taxi screeches to a halt beside her. JOHANA
jumps. The driver whose arm loosely dangles from the car
window, grins at her.
EXT. SAN DOMENICO - DAY
The white FIAT taxi pulls up in front of the SAN DOMENICO
hotel, but it is JACQUES who gets out of it. The driver
helps him with his bags.
(checking the books)
Mayol... Mayol... No reservation.
... Are you sure?
JACQUES looks down at the piece of paper stapled to his
This is the hotel San Domenico?
Yes Sir, and it has been so for 127
(more and more
Yes, but... So, you haven't got a
No Sir, the hotel is full because of
the Diving championship.
The Receptionist starts working on his papers again.
JACQUES, completely lost, stares blankly at the hotel
clerk, wondering what to do next.
INT. HOTEL - DAY
The tiny FIAT clatters onto the sidewalk in front of the
hotel narrowly avoiding the Countess' limo. Parks its
frontwheels on the sidewalk, rear end in the road.
ENZO, followed by ROBERTO, get out of his car, like a king
descending from his carriage. On the way, he stops and
kisses a distinguished elderly woman's hand? The hotel's
ENZO tosses his keys to a doorman who stepped up to
Be careful with that car, it's a new
ENZO enters the hotel and sees JACQUES.
(yelling across the
Giacomino! My friend! My brother!
ENZO and JACQUES. The two men kiss each other on both
cheeks, pound each others back. They are both moved.
(looking at him)
So you finally decided to join us?
You did the right thing!
(to the desk clerk)
Hey Paolo! Come stai? Get my key!
gesturing over his
You remember my little brother
Roberto (26) nods to JACQUES who shakes his hand.
I remember. Hi Roberto!
What room have you got?
I don't have one.
You don't have a room?
(at the top of his
Paolo? What did I just hear? I
personally called you to reserve a
room for my good friend Jacques
Mayol and you treat him like a
It's okay, Enzo. I'll go somewhere
Not only is Jacques Mayol a very
special friend, but he happens to be
one of the best divers in the world!
And you're throwing him out! Are
you crazy, or what? Stupido!
Enzo drop it, I'll find something.
ENZO looks at him for a moment and gives him a warm smile.
He hands him his own keys.
Take mine. I'll take the Countess'
suite. She told me she was leaving
for the cemetery... She'll be more
PAOLO half-heartedly, hands him the key. ENZO glances at
JACQUES to make sure he's properly impressed. He throws
his arm around JACQUES' shoulder, hugs him and gives him a
I'm glad you're here.
EXT. HOTEL TERRACE TAORMINA - JACQUES - ENZO - DAY
They're at a table on a terrace that overlooks the sea.
They've just arrived and all around them people are
lunching away furiously.
ENZO beckons to a passing WAITER who comes to the table.
He's a very handsome, slightly effeminate young man.
"Spaghetti del mare"
It's delicious here. It's the one
thing they really know how to make.
Del mare for two?
Yes, sure, for two.
And a bottle of "Frascatti". Two
Si Signore, grazie mille.
The waiter hurries away. ENZO watches his departure, then
He moves just like a woman.
(then, as if he were
speaking to Jacques)
It must be hard to live in two
worlds like that, huh? To breathe
in one, swim in the other...
JACQUES nods without really knowing.
Anyway! Nothing beats a sexy broad!
ENZO starts laughing. JACQUES would like to crawl under
TIME DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. HOTEL TERRACE TAORMINA - JACQUES - ENZO - LATER
Their lunch is on the table, half eaten.
... So, after all these years, you
must have lots of questions to ask.
Am I right?
Yes, of course. Lots of questions.
JACQUES is satisfied with his answer. He thinks that the
subject is closed. They eat silently for a moment. ENZO
watches him. Then:
Well, what are they?
I'm sorry... I don't know how to ask
ENZO bursts out laughing.
Well, then. I'll do the asking for
you. "Tell me dear Enzo, how did
you become World Champion?" Oh,
that's a long story.
(his voice changes)
Well, after you left Amorgos, I went
back to Italy and joined the Navy.
So you now have in front of you --
Captain Molinari, who's been on
leave of absence for the past 14
How do you make a living? Your
experiments, does it pay well?
... You married?
JACQUES doesn't seem to have ever thought about marriage.
Me neither, 'cause of my Mother.
She's a curse, my Mamma, a tornado.
Stubborn as a mule! I was
engaged... for a week. After that,
Mamma was so mad, I tell you, pasta
was bouncing off the walls.
So, not married. Well, good for
you. You play the field, like me.
A girl in every port, huh?
Exactly, I mean, after all, we're
(slapping the table
Damn right! That's what I tell them
when people say you've turned into a
People say that?
(sorry he went too
Forget it. I was joking.
EXT. ENTRANCE TO TERRACE - ON JOHANA
JOHANA comes out of the stone tunnel which leads to the
terrace. She looks over the crowd, trying to find
JACQUES is sitting with his back to her. She finally
spots him and walks over to the table.
Eh! La Madonna! This one is for
me. I'll bet you my watch that
she's in my bed tonight.
JACQUES turns around and recognizes her. JOHANA smiles
and walks up to the table. ENZO takes his watch off and
puts it on the table.
I tell you she's mine!
You know each other?
ENZO kisses her hand and brushes his watch off the table
in the same movement.
This is a great pleasure.
(laughing at the
Johana Cross, pleased to meet you.
(then to Jacques,
Well! Isn't this a coincidence. I
really wasn't expecting this... All
the way out here. It's incredible!
Please, have a seat.
Thank you. I wouldn't want to
JOHANA sits down.
Not at all!
You're staying at the hotel?
I wish, but it's full. They
recommended a pension in town. They
say that all of Taormina is full.
What's going on here?
It's the Free Diving World
Championship. I am by the way world
JOHANA has turned toward JACQUES, paying no attention to
ENZO. JACQUES can't stop looking at JOHANA.
But what brought you to Sicily?
I was doing an insurance
investigation in Palermo.
I work for an insurance company.
(back to Jacques)
So, I decided to take a few days
I don't know this island at all. It
really is gorgeous.
There is no place in the world more
beautiful than Sicily!
The waiter passes behind them. ENZO reaches out, grabs
him by the arm, pulls him to the table.
A spaghetti del mare for the super
dedicated traveling insurance
I think I'll have a coffee.
No, no. You'll like it. It's
... Okay. I'll try.
ENZO pours the wine.
JOHANA shrugs fatalistically. The waiter leaves.
JACQUES, intrigued, stares at JOHANA. She pretends not to
Where did you two meet?
In a lake.
I might have known.
As I was telling you earlier, I'm
the world champion free diver.
Some people say it's the most virile
sport in the world. One has to
admit that when you see those men
diving head first in that deep blue
sea, all muscles contracted in one
super human effort...
Ahi, ahi, cazzo! Ma mamia!
Where...? God, she'll kill me...
(pushing the plate
in front of Johana)
... if she catches me eating pasta
in a restaurant.
He quickly brushes off the crumbs in front of him.
ON ENZO'S MOTHER
heading toward them. She's a huge woman in widow's black.
She shoulders her way through the tables.
ROBERTO carrying her suitcases follows at her heels.
ENZO jumps to his feet. Throws his arms around her.
You expect me to carry all the
Mamma. Roberto and an elevator...
Isn't that enough?
A beat. Signora MOLINARI inspects the plates on the
What have you been eating?
Coffee only, I'm diving tomorrow.
You remember little Jacques, Jacques
... And his friend, Johana...
Signora MOLINARI nods grudgingly.
Spaghetti del mare!
ENZO is the only one with no plate in front of him.
Signora MOLINARI'S eyebrows condense into a dark stripe
across her forehead.
JOHANA hands ENZO'S plate to the WAITER and takes the full
And begins to eat, ignoring the expressions of amazement
all around her.
JOHANA nods enthusiastically, her mouth too full to speak.
MAMMA MOLINARI has a huge grin on her face.
EXT. TAORMINA STREET - JACQUES, JOHANA - TWILIGHT
They emerge onto the street in front of the entrance of a
small rooming house.
JACQUES is carrying JOHANA'S luggage. The old pension is
covered in bright pink bougainvilliers, there is laundry
hanging on the other side of the street.
Thanks for helping with the bag.
(she looks up at the
pension with little
It looks great!
I thought it was a nice place.
I'm being a pain in the ass.
(looking at him)
It's beautiful here.
They look at each other. JACQUES is silent. He just
stands there, a suitcase in each hand.
JOHANA breaks the silence.
You're going to be very busy these
days aren't you?
I don't know... why?
Just because... I would have liked
to visit the town... See the
coast... I don't know anybody...
Expect for you.
(feeling she has
gone too far)
But you are going to be very busy.
You must have tons of things to
prepare, interviews... And a
competition like this one must
require a great deal of
(shakes his head
Yes... Maybe... I don't know. I
don't like competitions... It ruins
the fun. Don't you think?
(with a faint smile)
I guess... But you know... I'm
American and I've mostly been taught
to be competitive... There's always
pleasure of being the best?
Maybe on earth there is one... but
not when you dive... You see, to
dive deep into the sea, for no
reason... just to do it. It's a
feeling... I don't know how to say
He looks up at her as he pronounces the last word. She
smiles at him, lovingly.
You can put down the suitcases, you
He lets go of the suitcases. Suddenly, behind them, there
is a loud screech of tires. The FIAT tears across the
ENZO in his FIAT. He pokes his head out of the window.
C'mon, you two... Jacques, we have
to get ready for the ceremony
tonight. We have a new world
I'm a little tired, I don't know
Get in the car!
INT. ENZO'S SUITE - ENZO, JACQUES, ROBERTO - NIGHT
They're in front of a wardrobe looking JACQUES over in the
full-length mirrors. He's wearing an evening shirt and a
tuxedo of ENZO'S. The collar is too big, the sleeves
hangover his hands. He looks at himself dubiously in the
Roberto! The bow-tie!
ROBERTO hands ENZO the bow-tie, he hooks it around
(taking a few steps
JACQUES looks down at his tennis shoes.
What about the shoes?
Anyway, you don't have anything
else, do you?
Then, it's very chic. Avanti!
EXT. RECEPTION ON TERRACE - NIGHT
A big reception is organized on the terrace of the hotel.
The official divers and technicians are all gathered in
front of a podium. The terrace is loaded with
ROBERTO keeps turning round and round the long buffet
JACQUES is alone at the bar. Incongruous detail: a
whiskey bottle on the table beside him.
JOHANA enters. She has also had a few drinks.
I thought you'd be at the dinner.
It's too loud for me.
He tugs at his over-sized tuxedo.
You look adorable.
... Especially the sneakers.
JACQUES looks down at his feet, doesn't know what to make
of her comment. JOHANA sits down beside him and pours
herself a drink. They touch glasses.
EXT. ON PODIUM - NIGHT
On the podium, NOVELLI, the organizer of the championship,
stands in his tuxedo, talking into a microphone. An older
man in a worn out suit, stands next to him.
Ladies and Gentlemen, your
attention, please. Mr. Andre
Bonnet, President of the
International Diving Championship
Committee, is going to present this
trophy to the new world champion of
free diving. This afternoon, our
new champion descended to the
remarkable depth of 280 feet.
The audience applauds.
This young man Tia...
NOVELLI can't quite read his notes.
Tiraro... Tirao-re... Moa...
ANDRE BONNET takes his turn to read the note. A young
Tahitian jumps up, heads for the podium.
NOVELLI hesitates to repeat the name.
... Let's all give him a big hand.
The audience cheers and applauds the new champion. ENZO
sits at a table, watching the ceremony.
A one day hero!
He gets up and walks out of the room.
INT. BAR - NIGHT
JACQUES and JOHANA are sitting at the bar. The whiskeys
have gone to their heads. ENZO walks over to them.
A new world record! That's great!
It gives me something to beat
You ever been to Tahiti?
I'll take you there. We'll live in
the sun. You'll cook fresh fish and
we'll make love under the coconut
JOHANA smiles and shakes her head.
You forgot the Hula!
Yes, of course, I'll do the Hula!
You'll be lovely, but no thanks.
Jacques, would you do a native dance
I don't know how... Excuse me.
JACQUES leaves the bar. JOHANA watches him go. ENZO
notices her way of watching him. He's a little jealous.
He looks strange, doesn't he? Like
a baby that just learned to walk.
Have you known him long?
Forever. We used to live on the
same island in Greece, when we were
What was he like, when he was little?
Little. Very little. And skinny,
very skinny too. That is compared
I get it, Enzo you were a superior
Exactly! What is it Johana? You're
so crazy about him, you don't see
She doesn't answer.
Forget it, don't think of Jacques as
a human being. He's from another
And just where are you from?
EXT. TERRACE OF THE HOTEL - NIGHT
ENZO sits at the grand piano in the corner of the terrace.
Beethoven was always a favorite of his.
JACQUES, very tipsy by now walks over, a glass in each
hand. He hands ENZO a glass, then takes off his tennis
shoes and sits them neatly on the piano.
There is nothing like music. It
speaks from the heart. Can you tell
me why we bother diving in the dark,
the cold, without ever taking the
time to breathe? Huh? Can you tell
me why we do it?
... For the mermaids.
ENZO smiles, moved.
My father used to see them
everywhere too... but the only one
he ever caught was my mother...
Actually she caught him.
Today at lunch, you asked me if I
had any questions.
Ah ha. You finally want to know
Why? Are they what's most
No... It depends... Sometimes they
are... What, exactly do you want to
Everything about what?
Well... about everything.
ENZO grins at JACQUES and starts playing again.
TIME DISSOLVE TO LATER:
JACQUES AND ENZO
There are now several empty champagne bottles around.
They are both quite drunk. ENZO is philosophizing.
JOHANA is looking for them.
... So, between Mamma, Roberto and
the sisters, we yell and scream all
day long. Except with Angelica.
She just cries. And then finally,
we all end up kissing. Can you
explain that to me?
JACQUES can't answer.
Because that's what love is all
about. It's a pain in the ass but
keeps us together.
(then, in a half
A large and beautiful family!
JOHANA walks over to them.
Enzo... We must quit the
ENZO hits a wrong note on the piano.
If we don't... I'm going to beat
JOHANA stands next to JACQUES.
(with a nervous
Huh? Well listen to him!
Do you hear that?
He looks me in the eye like some
fuckin' gold fish, and says: "I'm
going to beat you".
(with a smile)
... That's what he's here for, isn't
Listen to her! "That's what he's
here for"! He's here to loose,
that's what he's here for. First of
all, I'm unbeatable. Second, how
old are you?
Two years younger than you.
As I said, second of all you're too
skinny. You've got tiny lungs. I
still don't understand how you can
dive without getting sick.
The size of the lungs has nothing to
do with it!
Look at me. These aren't lungs.
These are... Tanks. How long can
you hold your breath?
ENZO is getting really angry. The drinks have a lot to do
I don't know. Longer than you.
ENZO pulls open his collar and rises.
EXT. HOTEL - SWIMMING POOL - UNDERWATER - NIGHT
JACQUES and ENZO dive into the pool in their Tuxedos.
Each one carries a beach umbrella in a concrete base to
help them stay at the bottom.
ENZO takes two goblets out of his pocket, hands them to
JACQUES. Takes a bottle of Champagne out of the other
pocket and opens it. The cork floats out of the bottle.
Above on the surface of the pool there's a splash. JOHANA
finds a mask on the side of the pool and watches them.
Her dress is soaked by now.
ENZO pours champagne. Courteous and grave, they clink
glasses and begin to drink. They have already been
underwater longer than a minute. They can't really drink
out of the glasses and ENZO offers JACQUES the bottle.
JACQUES studies the label like a connoisseur. He drinks,
passes the bottle back to ENZO.
INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Paramedics roll two stretchers toward the elevators at
full speed. ENZO on one, JACQUES on the other. Both men
keep throwing up water.
INT. JACQUES'S ROOM - NIGHT
The paramedics roll the stretcher toward the bed.
JOHANA very worried, follows them.
Take it easy...
Don't worry, he's empty now. He
needs sleep, that's all.
The two men leave the room.
JOHANA walks over to the chair and rearranges JACQUES'
shirt and jacket which the paramedic had thrown down.
JACQUES looks like he's just had a very rough night. He
sits up and grabs the sides of the bed, as if he were on a
JOHANA turns around, furious.
Won what? The Ass Hole Award?
Well, let me tell you, it's a tie!
She walks over to the bed.
Acting like a pair of two year olds!
You could have died in that damn
Please move slowly, you're rocking
Lucky I was there to save you.
(seeing her wet
You jumped in?
Only to help the medics, I assure
JOHANA wet, walks over to the wet clothes on the chair.
She pulls out JACQUES soaking wallet from one of the
It's still here.
She tries to wipe it.
No. I want to show you. Is it
Well, water isn't exactly the best
thing for pictures... Not even for
pictures of dolphins...
Give it to me.
JOHANA hands him the photograph. He stares at it, looking
very sad. Worried JOHANA sits down next to him.
(on the verge of
My real family...
(he looks at the
picture and cries)
What kind of man has such a family?
She takes the picture out of his hands.
He is so upset that JOHANA can hardly help from crying
with him. She sits next to him and strokes his hair.
I'm sick of never feeling at home
JOHANA takes him in her arms. He breaks down.
EXT. HOTEL - DAWN
The early morning sun slowly lights up the water. A yacht
has left the hotel dock. It is moving out to sea off the
coast of TAORMINA.
EXT. YACHT - ON DECK
This is the Committee Boat for the diving competition.
On the boat, ROBERTO is worried. He checks his watch and
finally decides to wake up his brother. ENZO is asleep in
the fore peak, curled up on a coil of line, snoring away.
He wears his tuxedo jacket over a skimpy bathing suit.
Enzo, wake up!
(pulled from his
Eh? Si! Avanti!
He gets up on one arm.
The medics are looking all over for
I'm meditating, can't you see?
Jacques does two hours of yoga
before going down. I can take a
five minute nap, can't I?
The boat stops. The anchor is thrown over board.
The sailors, technicians and officials are getting ready
for the competition. Today is ENZO'S turn to dive. A man
is hooking a plaque indicating the depth (324 feet) onto a
lead disk which he heaves into the water on a cable.
INT. YACHT - DOCTOR'S CABIN - DAY
A medic is bending over ENZO, taking his blood pressure.
ROBERTO pulls the tuxedo jacket down. The doctor puts a
blood pressure band around ENZO'S upper arm, pumps it up.
He listens with his stethoscope.
Mr. Molinari, I'm terribly sorry but
I cannot allow you to dive in such
an advanced state of exhaustion.
ENZO jumps to his feet, grabs the doctor by his lapels,
lifts him in the air.
What do you know about the sea?
Huh? Nothing! So you just put your
tubes and tin cans away. The sea is
mine! I know when she is ready for
me and when she isn't. And today,
she is ready. Understand?
You dive at your own risk. You're
ENZO smiles and pats the doctor on the shoulder.
EXT. YACHT - ON DIVING PLATFORM
It's a large float, rigged to the stern of the Committee
Boat. ROBERTO and an assistant help ENZO down the swim
ladder to the platform. He's wearing a wet suit and fins.
He flip-flops to the end of the platform.
ROBERTO hands him his mask. The goggles are filled with
polystyrene to eliminate as much air pressure as possible.
Only two pinholes to see through. The mask fits tightly
over his nose. When ENZO puts it on, he looks like an
astonished insect. ENZO breathes faster and faster.
ROBERTO holds the wire controlling the weighted diving
apparatus. ENZO crosses himself, takes a last long gulp
ROBERTO releases the weight. It sinks and drags ENZO
down, he quickly disappears into the dark water...
BLACK AND WHITE
But this is JACQUES as he was a child. He swims along the
bottom, finds and picks up a gold coin. We can see its
ancient markings, a youth on a dolphin.
JACQUES looks up. In front of him is a dolphin, floating
vertically, still, apparently just watching. JACQUES
isn't scared anymore. But every time he swims toward the
dolphin, it moves further away. It finally disappears.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - JACQUES - DAY
He sits bolt upright in bed, awakened by his dream. He
looks around the room, trying to get his bearings.
JOHANA is asleep in a chair across the room. On the wall
behind her, her last nights dress is drying on a hanger.
She's wrapped up in a hotel bathrobe fast asleep.
JACQUES finally awake from his dream, sees JOHANA
sleeping. He walks over to her, touches her shoulder.
She wakes up, starts out of the chair. She grabs the
blanket to cover herself, and in doing so, a book falls on
the floor. It's one of his.
You scared me!
JACQUES picks up the book. JOHANA smiles.
Just checking up on your family.
I guess I was drunker than I thought
and the idea of going back to my
hotel in a wet dress... Well...
I'm glad you stayed. Thank you.
I'd better get back now.
You... You wouldn't want to spend
the day with me?
She sits back in her chair, amazed that he would even ask.
(she says "No" as if
she had asked the
Yes, of course!!
EXT. MARINELAND - TAORMINA - DAY
JACQUES and JOHANA enter the dolphinarium. JOHANA is
wearing an old pair of JACQUES SHORTS along with an
oversized T-shirt and rolled up sweater. She seems quite
pleased with her new attire.
JACQUES and JOHANA walk straight through MARINELAND and
head toward the dolphin pool. It's pretty crowded, mostly
The dolphins are lying motionless at the bottom of the
pool. The trainer is tired of throwing fish in the pool
and getting absolutely no reaction.
What's the matter?
I don't understand. We've tried for
two days. They won't eat. They
won't perform. It's since we got
the new one.
CLOSE ON DOLPHIN
surfacing. It thrusts its head over the edge of the pool,
looks to JACQUES and SPEAKS.
Is she the new one?
Surprised, the trainer nods.
JOHANA looks over at JACQUES then at the dolphin. She
How can you tell it's a female?
... The way she moves.
Three other dolphins gather around the one that JACQUES is
JACQUES is staring at the female dolphin. It looks like
the animal is trying to tell him something. Suddenly the
dolphin grabs him by the sleeve and pulls him into the
UNDERWATER - DOLPHIN POOL
JACQUES hangs onto the dolphin's muzzle. Let's it pull
him along. The dolphin swims to a far corner of the pool,
and pulls JACQUES to the bottom. The other dolphins
EXT. DOLPHIN POOL - DAY
JACQUES pops up. As he does, three dolphins leap in the
air behind him. JOHANA walks closer to the pool. She is
so excited by what JACQUES is doing, she finally falls
into the pool.
After a while, JACQUES gets out of the pool and helps
Did you ever think of trying the
He's a dolphin specialist.
In that case what's wrong with the
new one? Is she sick or not.
(taking his time to
Not the way you mean.
What am I supposed to do? Do I call
the dealer...? The investment, you
understand... I certainly am
entitled to complain!
It's going to cost you more than you
JACQUES turns around and walks off. JOHANA catches up
She's not like the others. She
can't stand to be away from the sea.
How do you know that?
I don't know, I just feel it.
INT. HALL - HOTEL - DAY
JACQUES and JOHANA are walking across the corridor.
ENZO walks up to them, followed by his tribe. Everybody
is congratulating him.
ROBERTO is screaming, MAMMA MOLINARI is crying. ENZO
smiles as he talks back to them. He sees JACQUES.
ENZO grabs hold of his shoulders. JACQUES and JOHANA are
Don't be sad, I only took back what
He gives JACQUES the diving plaque, it reads 280 feet.
Here, it's a present.
JOHANA and JACQUES smile at each other. JACQUES has won
... Thank you.
ENZO slaps him on the shoulder.
Tonight we're having a little party
among ourselves. 8 o'clock in my
ENZO walks off then turns back toward them. He whispers
in JACQUES' ear.
Tell me... Can you explain why you
are soaking wet?
... We're in training.
ENZO walks off.
INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Three formally dressed officials are waiting in front of
one of the hotel rooms. One of them holds a medal in his
hand, a glass of champagne in the other.
(through the door)
Mr. Roberto, tell your brother to be
reasonable. Everyone is waiting for
him upstairs. The photographers are
there, the press...
He can't, he's indisposed.
(trying to keep his
Shall we call a doctor?
No, it's okay. Mamma is going to
JACQUES and JOHANA walk up from the other side of the hall
and stop in front of the same door.
Mr. Mayol, help us. He refuses to
receive his medal and everybody is
waiting for him up there. We
already have problems with the press
because of the danger, and if we
don't even have the divers help...!
... I'll do my best.
That's very kind of you.
JACQUES knocks on the door.
It's Jacques... Mayol!
A beat. Then ENZO opens the door himself.
Jacques! My friend! Come on in!
The officials look at each other baffled.
Mr. Enzo Molinari, allow me to
impress upon you the importance of
your attending the Award Ceremony...
For the press...
(loosing his temper)
I think my brother told you I was
indisposed, that should do it, no?
I'm allowed to be indisposed, right?
So, you just tell the press that the
"big" Enzo Molinari, overwhelmed by
his inspiring descent to 324 feet,
will not be able to receive this
trinket because he is...
He looks inquisitively at the three men. ENZO looses his
Because he is?!
ONE OF THE THREE MEN
He slams the door in their face.
INT. HOTEL - ENZO'S ROOM - NIGHT
Tell me, why don't you go and get
Because pasta should be eaten "Al
Dente". So the trinket will just
have to wait a bit.
ENZO takes JACQUES by the shoulder. Inside his room is
absolute chaos: dancing, singing, eating. Wet suits hung
out to dry everywhere. MAMMA MOLINARI is whipping up
mountains of spaghetti on an improvised stove in the
middle of the room. A lot of smoke... steam... color...
noise... All of Italy crammed into a few square feet.
JOHANA taken in by the warm atmosphere, sits in a corner
of the room. JACQUES walks over and sits down at her
Mamma! La pasta?!
She points at ROBERTO who is taking forever to grate the
cheese. ENZO grabs the guitar from his other brother's
hands and starts playing.
... It's easy. You go down. You
... Right, Johana?
Don't you agree, Jacques?
... You always were the best.
ENZO laughs then sees his mother.
Ah! La pasta!
ENZO starts singing in Italian. MAMMA MOLINARI serves the
pasta, ROBERTO follows her around, sprinkling his cheese
on the plates. She serves JOHANA a huge plate of pasta,
enough for three giants.
(with a smile)
Buon appetito, Signorina!
JOHANA who isn't even hungry, grins uncertainly. JACQUES
has walked up to ENZO. He doesn't dare ask his question.
What's the matter? You still have a
bunch of things to ask me? You want
to know the price of tea in China of
how we landed on the moon? Is that
ENZO laughs. JACQUES is serious.
No, I have to ask you a favor...
You're the only one who'll
... I'm listening.
INT. CORRIDOR - NIGHT
Tutto va bene?
The three officials are eating pasta, plates on their
knees. Their mouths are too full to speak, they nod
Gracie mille, chignora.
MAMMA MOLINARI smiles and slams the door.
INT. FIAT - NIGHT
JACQUES is driving, JOHANA sits beside him. ENZO crammed
in the back seat, very uncomfortably, because of a
stretcher which takes up all the space.
They are dressed as they were at ENZO'S party.
Hey! Will you slow down! When did
you learn how to drive?
Driving isn't the problem, it's
remembering the right road.
JACQUES runs a red light.
And the lights! Running lights,
stealing stretchers...! You'll have
us in jail.
Enzo, stop bitching, will you?
EXT. MARINELAND PARKING LOT - FIAT - NIGHT
They get out of the car. JACQUES starts to change into
his swimming trunks. ENZO shakes his head, can't believe
he's really come along. He laughs and starts undressing.
INT./ EXT. FIAT - STREET TAORMINA - NIGHT
It's a very narrow street. The car moves down it quickly.
JACQUES drives. The back seat is now occupied by the
dolphin. Its nose and tail protruding through the
JOHANA is in the front seat, turned around, spraying the
dolphin with a watering can.
EXT. BEACH - NIGHT
They have driven to the public beach. They slowly lower
the stretcher into the water. The dolphin, leaving the
stretcher, swims around a little but won't go away.
He won't leave JACQUES.
You can't stay here! Come on! Go
JACQUES swims off with her for a while.
ENZO walks back toward the car with the stretcher.
JOHANA, standing by the water looks at JACQUES and the
dolphin who are swimming off together.
JACQUES keeps splashing the dolphin as they swim.
You can stop that now, she has all
the water she needs.
JACQUES cannot get rid of the dolphin.
All right, we did it. Let's go back
to the party.
JACQUES and the dolphin can't seem to part.
Just one minute.
JOHANA is worried, she walks up to ENZO who goes back into
the water and takes JACQUES by the arm.
Jacques, the dolphin is home now.
And that's where we're going. Come
on! Hurry up now. Our girlfriend
is freezing over there.
The dolphin starts swimming off. JACQUES follows ENZO
EXT. JOHANA'S PENSION - NIGHT
ENZO stops the FIAT in front of the pension. The three of
them get out. ENZO hasn't bothered to dress.
JOHANA heads for the gate, she obviously has no desire of
Well, good night, then...
You going to sleep here, all by
She looks over at the pension, having a hard time
concealing her lack of enthusiasm.
... It's a comfortable place.
Sinister is what I'd call it...!
Ours is so much cheerful! Why don't
you come and stay with me... There's
plenty of room in my suite.
The Mamma's there too.
(face clouds up)
Yes, the Mamma is is there.
Good night Enzo, Good night Jacques.
You don't need a stretcher to take
her with you. You know that, don't
The dolphins aren't the only ones
who don't feel very good sometimes.
Leave it alone, Enzo, it's okay.
She rings the bell for the concierge, then looks back at
Can I come watch you dive tomorrow?
Uh... Yes, of course!
The concierge comes out and opens the iron gate for her.
JOHANA disappears into the parc. ENZO turns to JACQUES.
You really do have a few things to
learn about women!
EXT. SEA - DAY
The sun is rising on a rough sea. The Committee Boat is
anchored in the open sea, 600 feet above the sea bed.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - BAY OF TAORMINA - DAY
JACQUES who is on the foredeck of a boat at sea has just
laid a towel down before him. He's suited up, sitting in
the lotus position, staring straight ahead, clearly self-
JOHANA, NOVELLI, and other officials are in the stern of
the boat watching last minute preparations.
The scuba divers in brightly colored wetsuits and
aqualungs, flop out onto the diving platform, plunge into
the water, disappear.
What are they for?
They're paramedics. They wait at
If there was a problem, they could
do something right?
Of course, that's what they're for.
JOHANA sees scuba divers with weird air tanks.
... And those?
Those are the divers who go down 300
to 330 feet. They dive with a
Helium-oxygen mixture. At that
depth, compressed air is too
dangerous because it contains carbon
What's that little air bottle on the
That isn't for the divers actually.
It's for the balloon. It blows up
and pulls the diver up like an
elevator. Without it, with the
pressure at the bottom, the diver
would just stay pinned to the sea
But doesn't Jacques dive without
Yes... It's magic.
INT. BOAT - DAY - LATER
On the boat, NOVELLI checks his watch. JACQUES comes out
of his room. He's dressed to dive. He ignores everyone
as he goes down the ladder to the diving platform. He
seems to be in another world. All sounds coming to him
are drowned out.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - DAY
JACQUES sits in the diver's slot. Opens his eyes slowly
and looks around. He puts his flippers on, an assistant
stands at his side.
The figures on the platform are vague, the VOICES are
GARBLED and incomprehensible. Moving almost in slow
motion he raises three fingers.
BACK TO SCENE
Ten other divers have waited for this signal to dive.
They disappear one by one into the blue.
JACQUES uses contact lenses instead of a mask. He puts
them in, and now, his view of the world is as distorted as
his hearing... bodies deform... sounds fade...
Already euphoric from the vast amount of oxygen in his
system, he moves into another reality altogether... seems
to empty himself out.
JACQUES fills a small tube with water. Pours it into his
nostrils... tilts his head... then lets it run out... He
puts on his gloves... all his movements are slow, he seems
to be operating in a different time zone... He seems
unable to take his eyes off the water.
EXT. END OF DIVING PLATFORM - DAY
JACQUES puts his nose clip on. He puts his hand on the
gueuse. Closes his eyes and inhales slowly. Then he
takes a sudden last breath, nods, the technician releases
the gueuse and in one flashing movement, he disappears.
The gueuse slides down the cable. JACQUES hangs on like a
ribbon in the wind, past a marker, 90 feet down.
Above him, the boat disappears from sight.
He moves faster and faster... through a sea that looks
like a cloudy sky. The light fades rapidly around him.
Below, white spotlights pierce an ocean dark as night.
JACQUES reaches them in a matter of seconds. Turns the
brakes, brings his machine to a halt, 180 feet down.
The medics are waiting for him there. They take his
pulse. Check his eyes... 15 seconds... normal... the
bubbles from there scuba tanks churn the water around
JACQUES closes his eyes... a tap on the shoulder, he
releases the brake on the gueuse. Plunges further, this
time into pitch black.
Below him a faint spotlight glows on the bottom. He
reaches it and the dark diver moves to him. JACQUES
brakes his machine. Moving very slowly, turns his body
right side up. Like a sleep walker, JACQUES starts to
take the plaque off the plumbline... pauses in the middle
of the gesture.
The dark diver flashes the high sign to JACQUES, thumb and
forefinger touching, fingers extended, all clear. JACQUES
does not respond. The diver repeats the signal. JACQUES
does not respond.
The diver taps JACQUES on the shoulder... a beat... and
then JACQUES responds, thumb and forefinger touching okay.
Slowly, reluctantly, he wraps his hand around the handle
of the balloon.
The dark diver quickly turns the handle for him. The
balloon inflates. JACQUES hangs on... lets it carry him
At the plague marking 210 feet, JACQUES lets go of the the
balloon. With a burst of speed, it darts toward the
JACQUES follows slowly, undulating like a fish... He's
getting warm now... He closes his eyes.
Passes the medical control without stopping... without
even seeing it like someone asleep.
He's moving faster now, toward the warmth, toward the air.
JACQUES opens his eyes, watches the lights grow brighter.
The silhouette of the boat comes back into view. 60 feet
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - DAY
In slow motion JACQUES' hand holding the plaque breaks out
of the water followed by his arm, in one continuous
movement, his shoulders and head.
He gasps for air.
A trickle of blood comes from his nose.
Flashbulbs flicker, spectators cheer.
EXT. OPEN SEA - A DOLPHIN
The dolphin, the one rescued last night, leaps into the
air, in perfect harmony with JACQUES' triumph.
The dolphins in the dolphinarium leap into the air at the
exact same moment.
The trainer doesn't understand what's going on.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - DAY
JACQUES falls back into the water. Two divers run over
and pull him up onto the dock.
JACQUES seems completely dazed, almost in a trance. He
slowly comes to and starts screaming louder and louder.
It is the scream of his body in need of the surface,
reality and the feel of the land.
JOHANA is terrified. She can hardly breathe. Everybody
EXT. HOTEL DOCK - DAY
JACQUES and JOHANA walk down the gangway. NOVELLI has
lead the way and the news has been spread.
JACQUES looks very weak and punchy.
JOHANA holds him up.
The spectators applaud as he goes by. Intrigued, JACQUES
looks at them all.
Jacques, listen to the applause.
He doesn't respond.
(trying to keep up)
Jacques, you set a world record.
Aren't you happy? Don't you feel
proud...? I feel proud and all I
did was watch.
He is staring at her, he's returning to the real world.
Slowly he smiles.
She grabs hold of his arm and gives him a proud kiss on
the mouth. JACQUES is a little stunned.
EXT. TERRACE - SWIMMING POOL - DAY
ENZO walks into the hotel, his arms filled with packages.
He sees JACQUES and JOHANA. From the look on his face we
can tell he knows that JACQUES has beaten his record. He
deliberately puts on a huge smile as he walks over to
INT. TERRACE - SWIMMING POOL
Congratulations Jacques! It's
He drops his packages on the bar and gives Jacques a big
I'm happy for you!
He kisses him and starts handing out his presents.
What is it?
Little presents, nothing much... I
knew it, I just knew it! Look here!
He holds up his arm: he is wearing two watches.
Roberto's watch! I won it! He bet
that you couldn't beat me!
JACQUES opens his present. It's a little ceramic dolphin.
You still collect them?
You don't have that one, do you?
No. Thank you. It's really
Oh it's nothing. I knew it. I told
Roberto "He's very good that little
Frenchman, very good". I lost my
title but I won a watch!
JOHANA has opened her package. It's a big plate with a
text engraved on it.
Is it a poem?
No, it's the recipe for spaghetti
"Frutti del mare".
You see I was right in getting you
out here. You're a world champion,
JACQUES has opened the last small package. It's a
measuring tape. He looks at it without understanding.
It's a measuring tape.
He grabs hold of the tape and lets it roll to the ground.
You see this is your record, three
feet more than mine! Looking at it
from here, it doesn't look like
much, does it?
JACQUES looks at him without saying a word.
ENZO hands him the measuring tape.
Keep your little measuring tape, my
friend, it will be a nice souvenir
when I beat you next.
ENZO taps his shoulder and smiles.
INT. ELEVATOR ASCENDING - JACQUES - JOHANA
They're locked in a long kiss. He untucks the bottom of
her shirt and slides his hands under it.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA - TWILIGHT
They're in bed, making love in their fashion. Moonlight
shines in the silver sea. In the background are the
lights of the bay of TAORMINA.
JACQUES is in bed with JOHANA. They are both asleep.
Suddenly, he sits up, as he always does after his
He's wide awake, looks over at her sleeping. She sleeps
peacefully like a baby. Quietly, gently, he eases out of
bed and walks to the open window.
He stands on the balcony, staring at the sea. Then in the
distance in the moonlight, a dolphin leaps out of the
water, once, twice, a third time.
JACQUES laughs and goes back to the bed where he sits down
next to JOHANA. She is still sound asleep.
EXT. HOTEL - PIER - NIGHT
JACQUES quickly gets into one of his diving suits. He
puts on his flippers. The dolphin is still jumping in and
out of the water. JACQUES jumps off the pier and swims
over to her.
INT. JACQUES' HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
JOHANA rolls over and feels the bed in her sleep.
JACQUES' absence wakes her.
She gets up and walks over to the balcony. She doesn't
EXT. PIER - NIGHT
JOHANA walks down the pier and notices the little pile of
clothes JACQUES has left behind. She looks around but
still can't see anything. She decides to sit next to the
pile of clothes, and waits, her eyes riveted to the sea.
EXT. PIER - DAWN
The sky has just begun to light up again. JOHANA is still
sitting next to the pile of clothes.
She is wearing JACQUES' sweater. She looks sad, yet
serene. The look of a woman who has been thinking over
the situation and who has made up her mind.
Tired, JACQUES swims back to the pier. It looks as if he
has come out of nowhere.
He is exhausted. He takes off his flippers and gets up
onto the pier in front of JOHANA. He looks at her, a
little surprised to find her there.
What are you doing here?
She answers in a far away voice, with the same serene
I'm going to leave, Jacques.
Dripping with water, he sits down next to her. His face
is drawn from fatigue. She continues.
I'm going back home.
Because one shouldn't fall in love
with creatures from the sea.
I'm not from the sea... I don't
understand what you're talking
Yes you do. You know exactly what
I'm talking about. You're afraid I
want to hold onto you, and I do,
but you're not ready... at least not
But it's not true, I feel good with
you... It feels right...
She looks at him for a moment, then takes his face in her
hands and rests it on her bosom, as if a small child.
I've got to get back to the hotel...
and get my suitcase packed.
INT. TRAIN STATION - JACQUES - JOHANA - DAY
The train station faces the sea. JACQUES and JOHANA are
standing on the platform, amid others. In the distance we
hear the rumble and whistle of a train.
JOHANA gets on the train. The station master blows his
Will... will we see each other
JOHANA'S eyes are filled with tears.
Take good care of yourself, Jacques.
The train starts pulling out of the station.
Where can I call you? Johana, tell
me where can I call you?
JOHANA doesn't answer. JACQUES stands helplessly in the
station, his eyes filled with tears.
INT. ENZO'S ROOM - DAY
ENZO opens the door of his suite. His hair is messed up,
he's got "sheet prints" on his face and is wearing the top
of a diving suit.
Can I come in?
No problem, I enjoy talking in my
ENZO walks back into the apartment and crashes on the bed.
He's lying on his stomach. JACQUES walks in and lets
himself drop in a chair.
Wake me up at 11:00.
ENZO closes his eyes. JACQUES looks over at the clock, it
says 11:25. JACQUES doesn't say anything and stares
blankly out of the window.
(opening one eye)
Hmmm! Something wrong?
JACQUES doesn't answer.
Is it the girl?
JACQUES stares out the window.
Did she leave?
No answer. ENZO gets up and sits on the side of the bed.
Hey! I'm going to take care of you!
I've got this job, on an oil rig, no
sweat! I'm taking you along... Come
on! Get your bags packed! You're
coming with me, I tell you!
He pats him on the back.
We'll make a great team, the two of
us. You'll see!
EXT. OIL DRILLING PLATFORM - AT SEA - DAY
The platform shines in the morning light.
There are several stories of crew housing and offices
above the deck. Long steel legs disappear into the
swelling slate-gray ocean. We hear WHOP-WHOP-WHOP of a
EXT. HELICOPTER - PLATFORM
The helicopter is landing. Crewmen rush to secure it to
the oil rig's deck. Doors open and two passengers get
off: JACQUES and ENZO. They each carry a duffel bag of
personal belongings. They're both wearing fluorescent
The DRILLING SUPERINTENDENT comes to meet them.
We've been waiting for you for three
Is that the way you talk to the best
diver in the world...? And to his
friend Jacques Mayol!
The SUPERINTENDENT smiles sourly, and gestures to a
Show them their quarters.
Five minutes later, JACQUES and ENZO are following the
He doesn't like us.
So what!? His job is to hand out
the paychecks. And he does that
very well, let me tell you.
INT. DIVING CAPSULE - DAY
The diving capsule, suspended by cables, begins its
descent through a trap door in the deck. It plunges into
The three men in the capsule are: JACQUES, ENZO and the
tough looking CAPSULE COMMANDER NOIREUTER, who is much too
professional for ENZO'S tastes.
ENZO watches through a porthole while the COMMANDER
concentrates on the control console. He runs through a
checklist of systems. JACQUES responds with a "check" as
he verifies each one. ENZO is already bored and fed up by
JACQUES is lost in thought, they don't look cheerful.
You still thinking about her?
JACQUES doesn't answer. ENZO goes on.
Don't think about her anymore! Let
me tell you, you're just making
yourself unhappy! There are so many
women in the world!
He takes a cigarette from a pouch in his diving suit and
stares at NOIREUTER.
Plenty of women everywhere right?
Smoking is absolutely forbidden.
It isn't lit yet.
You shouldn't even carry cigarettes
Listen we're not supposed to piss
either but that doesn't stop you
from carrying "it" on board?!
The rules are the rules.
(checking out this
... What's your name again?
And where did you say you were from?
I didn't say...
ENZO smiles sardonically, shaking his head very slowly.
The COMMANDER'S answer explains it all.
INT. DRILLING PLATFORM - CONTROL ROOM - DAY
A technician is overlooking the capsule descent on a
The SUPERINTENDENT watches over the technician's shoulder.
They're at 450 feet.
INT. DIVING CAPSULE - DAY
ENZO, a cigarette dangling from his lips, looks through
... I was seventeen, I loved her so
much I tried to die for her. Two
years later I couldn't even remember
her name! Let me tell you, time
I don't want to erase anything.
You'd rather think about it and make
(after thinking about
I give you this. You're stubborn...
Dumb, but stubborn.
(taking it as a
INT. CAPSULE - DAY
The technician fiddles with a few knobs.
Minus 800 feet. End of descent.
INT. DIVING CAPSULE
The diving capsule ends its descent. The COMMANDER turns
to ENZO and JACQUES who is still staring out the porthole.
(with a Mickey Mouse
You have enough air for 15 minutes.
ENZO bursts out laughing.
(with Donald Ducks
What's with the voice?
It's nothing. It's just the helium,
because of the air pressure.
And... does the voice come back?
For others, yes... For you, who
(still a little
worried, to Jacques)
Try speaking to me?
(with Daffy Ducks
I don't find this funny. We were
having a serious conversation.
ENZO and JACQUES burst out laughing. They keep these same
voice till the end of the scene.
ENZO pulls out a tiny silver flask out of his pocket.
Here, give me your finger.
ENZO taps a drop onto JACQUES' finger, then on his own.
Then NOIREUTER blows up.
(in a panic)
Is that alcohol? Are you out of
your mind? Alcohol is strictly
(loosing his temper)
Hey! D'you have any other
complaints? Just make a list and
we'll stick it on the porthole!
ENZO pours a second drop on his own finger.
Go on, suck your finger.
JACQUES hesitates. ENZO has no qualms about it and sucks
his own finger. NOIREUTER is petrified.
Are you crazy? At this pressure?
It's very deep down here.
Come on, suck your finger, you'll be
seeing mermaids everywhere!
JACQUES, convinced sucks his finger too. ENZO smiles.
The alcohol has an immediate effect on them.
A thousand commanders and we get a
Belgian from Alcoholic's Anonymous.
ENZO gets out of the diving capsule, head first.
He is connected to the capsule by a number of cables.
JACQUES, who follows him, gets completely tangled up in
them. They are both hilariously drunk.
INT. DRILLING PLATFORM - CONTROL ROOM
The SUPERINTENDENT hears them laughing through the control
room speakers. He flips a communication switch.
Can you hear me? What's going on?
(to the technician)
Are you sure you're on the right
The technician nods back to him.
The two divers have gotten to the spot they are supposed
to be working on. They have their arms around each other
and are dancing.
NOIREUTER watches them through the porthole. He shakes
his head in complete disbelief.
INT. CONTROL ROOM
We hear the two friends humming the tune of a Viennese
If those guys are playing a radio
down there they'd just better watch
INT. JOHANA'S APARTMENT
SALLY is talking away, pointing around the apartment.
... And if we repaint the walls,
we'll need new curtains, you put the
painters on you Visa and I'll do the
curtains on American Express... for
the couch there's Bloomingdales...
or are you still over your limit?
Way past it.
Does that have a hidden meaning?
No. I'm just depressed.
You look it too. You haven't been
working out, you haven't been taking
your vitamins! You haven't been
drinking your herbs, you haven't
I know, I know! I'm a terrible
(after a beat)
It's... I'm so damn, damn sad.
What is it honey... the frenchy?
Do you think I should have stayed?
Don't you think maybe I should have
stayed? I've been a jerk, right?
I should have stayed! I was
supposed to be in love... I was in
love! I am in love, why did I act
like a bitch? He went swimming.
All the man did was go swimming! I
must be crazy. It was too good to
Vitamins, exercise, herb tea... and
see a doctor, will ya?
INT. DOCTOR'S OFFICE - JOHANA - DAY
The doctor enters with a folder, speaks to JOHANA
Well Miss Cross, herbs aren't going
to do the trick this time.
It's serious, right?
I think so. You're pregnant...
Congratulations! If that's in
JOHANA breaks into a wide grin.
It's in order! Thank you. Thank
I don't think it's me you have to
INT. DUFFY'S OFFICE - DUFFY - DAY
DUFFY is at his desk. His lunch is spread out in front of
him. Outside the window, the window-washers are eating
their lunch too. JOHANA hurries in.
I came to make a clean breast of
everything... the whole business.
(bluffing, with his
mouth full of
Yes. Of course. Very wise.
(in a rush)
Remember when I went to Italy and
canceled the policy on the new
stadium. Well, we weren't being
cheated by the Mafia or anybody
except maybe by me...
(she sees the window-
... Do they come for lunch everyday?
I really went on my own business, to
see a man that I happen to be in
love with... and I'm glad I did it,
but I'm sorry about the policy and
I'll be happy to make up the money
the company didn't get... of course
just now I don't have...
(she checks a note
One million, four hundred and ten
thousand dollars. But if you were
to dock my salary, say, twenty
dollars a week, in a few hundred
years we'd be even... and I think
this is where you fire me?
You're right. You're fired.
Will that interfere with my getting
maternity leave? I'm pregnant.
The Italian, I presume?
No. He's French, he was just in
Italy for the competition.
He seems to have won it.
Yes, isn't it wonderful? I'm so
happy. I'll bet I'm the happiest
pregnant fired person in the world!
She starts to leave... calls out to the window-washers.
Bon appetit and Adieu!
INT. JOHANA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
JOHANA stares out of the bay window of her Manhattan
apartment. Hesitant, she walks around her telephone.
Finally she makes up her mind, picks up her address book
and dials the number.
It's me... Johana.
INT. JACQUES' APARTMENT
JACQUES is on the telephone, in front of a little window
overlooking the sea. He is very glad to hear her voice.
How are you?
INT. JOHANA'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
I got fired.
... That's funny... I had this job
with Enzo... we got fired too.
JOHANA'S face lights up with a huge smile.
JOHANA is still on the phone, sitting in front of the bay
window. Day is dawning.
(looking out at the
It's getting light out.
Here, it's getting dark.
JOHANA smiles. She stretches, lies down on the carpeted
floor. JACQUES seems to have gone through all topics of
I've been thinking about you a lot,
JOHANA is by now completely stretched out on the floor.
So have I.
I'm still here.
Well, then, talk to me some more.
... It's hard you know. You're so
far away and I don't know what else
Then, tell me a story.
Uh... Ah! A story?
He turns around and sits on the window sill, his feet
dangling in mid air.
He looks at the sea, seeking inspiration.
Do you know how it is?
Do you know what you're supposed to
do to meet a mermaid?
(with a smile)
No... tell me.
You go down to the bottom of the
sea, where the water isn't even blue
anymore, where the sky is only a
memory... and you float there,
quietly, quietly and stay there...
and you decide that you will die for
them... Only then do they start
coming out. They come and greet you
and they judge the love you have for
them... If it's sincere. If it's
pure... They will be with you and
take you away forever.
JOHANA listens with the abandon of a child being put to
INT. JACQUES' ROOM - ANTIBES
The sun hits the roof tops. The sea is sparkling.
The phone rings on the window sill. JACQUES answers.
It's me again.
(after a silence)
I'm being a pain, huh?
... Not at all.
Okay. In that case... I'm at the
airport in Nice.
JACQUES doesn't know what to say. He looks around him,
can't figure out what to do.
Okay... huh, I'll be right over.
INT. AIRPORT - DAY
JOHANA is standing in front of the airport.
JACQUES sees her. They smile shyly at each other.
EXT. STREET - NICE - OPPOSITE THE NEGRESCO HOTEL
JACQUES and JOHANA are sitting in the back of a taxi. The
driver stops in front of the hotel.
The Carlton! Enjoy your siesta.
JACQUES and JOHANA look at each other.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA - DAY
The room is in semi-darkness, despite the blazing sunlight
coming through cracks in the shutters. JACQUES and JOHANA
are making love. JACQUES is on top of her, his whole body
covered in sweat. The rumpled sheets and the movements of
their bodies suggest the movements of the sea. ALL SOUNDS
are disproportionate and slightly distorted, they are
ALL JOHANA'S reluctance has vanished. Both of them act
like people who have never felt anything like this before.
A certain astonishment at the depth of their feeling. An
increasing freedom. All the muscles of their bodies
stretch to their limits.
JACQUES, progressively, finds himself disappearing. His
image dissolves point by point... disintegrates into
unbroken blue... The effect creates the impression of
someone melting, the screen is now totally blue.
A thin, HIGH-PITCHED SOUND.
From the bottom of the image, a tiny pinpoint starts
TOWARD the CAMERA. It is JACQUES, naked, swimming out of
the deep blue ocean toward the light as if he were coming
out of a dive. He comes CLOSER and CLOSER to the
Until his head almost touches the lens...
A sudden DEAFENING NOISE... and we find JACQUES on top of
JOHANA. He looks down at her, speechless.
(a little frightened)
Are you okay?
After a long beat.
... I think I love you.
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING - ANTIBES - DAY
JACQUES and JOHANA step out of the elevator of a 19th
JACQUES is carrying her suitcases.
Why did you take me to the hotel, if
you live here.
JACQUES rings the door bell and sticks his key in the
Someone in there?
JACQUES nods and pushes the door open with the bags he's
carrying. They enter a huge, very old apartment filled
with models and paintings of boats.
JACQUES leads JOHANA to the other end of the apartment.
INT. BATHROOM - ON UNCLE LOUIS (SORT OF)
It's a huge old-fashioned bathroom. The centerpiece is a
deep ancient bathtub on faded gild feet. There's a
rippling shadow of a body under the bath water.
Don't be afraid. It's my Uncle...
He goes to the tub and pinches the end of a tube. UNCLE
LOUIS, underwater, has been breathing through it. LOUIS'
head pops out of the water, furious.
(loud, as if speaking
to a deaf man)
Uncle Louis, this is my friend
Did you buy the cassettes? The
Wagner, the Berlioz?
I brought Johana to meet you.
Are you crazy? I have no use for a
woman! Since my accident.
No, no. Johana is visiting me.
Bonjour Monsieur... Louis.
(she looks to
Uncle Louis. He's a 75 year old
amazing guy, isn't he?
I'm very pleased to meet you, Uncle
Did you bring the cassettes, the
Wagner, the Berlioz?
(pointing to Jacques)
This idiot never listens to anything
I say. Sometimes I wonder if he
LOUIS climbs out of the bathtub, and pulls on a bathrobe.
Behind him he's pulling two insulated wires out of the
bathtub. We see that they're connected to small
underwater speakers. As they surface, incredibly LOUD
MUSIC BLASTS: the finale of the "1812 Overture",
(trumpets, timpani, cannons, etc...) The sound fills the
room, the apartment, and probably all of ANTIBES.
INT. DINING ROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA - LOUIS - LATER
The three of them are at the table. There are a few
scraps on their plates on a threadbare lace tablecloth.
Incredibly LOUD SYMPHONIC MUSIC is PLAYING. LOUIS is as
deaf as a fence post.
Everyone has to scream over the music.
Where are you from, Henrietta?
Johana... New York.
What kind of name is that? To be
named after a city?
He doesn't hear too well.
I said I was from New York.
(yelling at Jacques)
That explains it! The best lays are
from New York!
No, no. It's true. When I was in
New York, oh boy!
Before my accident, you understand?
(then back to
JACQUES stands up and lowers the music.
Uncle Louis! Johana is my friend.
She's come to stay with me for a
Good. That way I'll see more of
you... Where are you going to stay?
In my apartment?
(with a sigh)
It's my apartment.
Liar! Thief! Torturer! When you
were an orphan I nursed you at my
Uncle Louis, we have a guest!
I'm going to put a lock on the
(them calming down,
Did you bring the cassettes?
INT. BEDROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA
JACQUES' room looks like a diving equipment storage room
with a bed in it. JACQUES notices JOHANA'S gaze.
You think it'll be all right?
You'll be comfortable here?
(catching her breath)
It's going to be... interesting.
EXT. PORT OF ANTIBES - DAY
JACQUES, JOHANA and ROBERTO are waiting at the port.
(glancing at his
... It's not like him to be late.
Of course sometimes he doesn't show
up at all. Once in Capri, he...
We get the picture, Roberto.
(looks over her
Jacques, I think Louis needs help.
JACQUES turns around. UNCLE LOUIS is a few yards behind
them at a fish stand on the dock. He's holding up an eel
and screaming at the fishmonger.
Two dollars for this! This fish
wasn't caught. It died of cancer!
JACQUES shrugs his shoulders and gives up on the idea of
Here he comes!
A speed boat races along the water. It's a beautiful
highly-varnished mahogany Riva. It races into the port.
Standing at the helm, looking like Christopher Columbus
his hair brushed back by the wind, is ENZO.
Next to him hanging on to the windscreen is an impressive
six foot, dark haired beauty. She has a scarf over her
hair. She wears a purple leather micro-mini with a cerise
halter top and her ruby fingernails are three inches long.
If she ever actually would get cast in a movie, she'd make
Raquel Welch hide in shame. Her stage name is BONITA
ENZO kills the THROTTLE, swings the speedboat into a
perfect landing at the dock. ROBERTO takes the lines.
During all of this, everyone's attention is actually on
BONITA who is tugging at her long black hair. They're all
awestruck except for ROBERTO.
(meaning the speed
Where did you get that?
"That"! This is not a "that"...
This is Bonita Mariposa, the famous
... Who is going to be careful with
(back to Roberto)
And who has come to spend a few days
(and very quickly)
You have eight hours before she gets
ENZO glances at his watch and sighs with relief. BONITA
says hello to JACQUES, kisses JOHANA.
INT. LIVING ROOM IN JACQUES' APARTMENT - DAY
Loud classical music booms from the stereo. The noise
pins JACQUES, ENZO and ROBERTO to their chairs.
UNCLE LOUIS gets a bottle of whiskey and serves everybody.
He's really going totally deaf!
I'm not as deaf as you are blind, my
boy! You take care of your eyes,
I'll take care of my ears!
I'm sorry Uncle Louis.
UNCLE LOUIS pours him a whiskey.
Come on, drink up, my boy! It might
just save us from your bullshit.
The bottle is empty. UNCLE LOUIS goes to the kitchen.
JACQUES turns down the music, and finally hears the bell
which has been ringing. JACQUES opens the apartment door:
it's Professor LAWRENCE. Suit and tie and carrying a
I'm glad you could come. I want you
to meet Enzo.
ENZO and LAWRENCE shake hands.
(with a smile)
So you're the famous Enzo Molinari?
(with an even bigger
In the flesh. I have that honor!
INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT
JOHANA comes into the bathroom, closes the door, cutting
down the blaring music. The paint is peeling off the
BONITA is standing under a 40 watt lamp, putting on make-
up in front of JACQUES' cracked shaving mirror.
You're going to live here
... Maybe, if Jacques will let me
fix up the place a little.
JOHANA walks over to the mirror and watches BONITA put on
her make-up like a professional.
He's shy, not like Enzo.
Yes. Not like Enzo.
I think, he's really nice... He's a
funny guy... sometimes even very
(after a long
... I'm pregnant, Bonita!
BONITA stops working on her make-up and looks pensively at
Are you going to keep it?
Does he know?
Maybe you should talk to him about
I can't... I just don't know how
BONITA looks at her with the same pensive look.
JOHANA goes on.
I was thinking of something kinda
stupid last night. You know those
women in the greek mythology that
made love with the Gods. Take Leda
for example, sleeping with Jupiter,
who came to earth as a swan... Well,
can you imagine Leda announcing to
her swan "You're going to be a
father, my little chick-a-dee"?
But your man isn't quite a God!
Probably not, but I still don't have
the nerve to tell him.
Well, you're going to have to tell
Unconvinced, JOHANA nods. She changes the subject.
And you...? Do you love Enzo?
Very much, I think.
But, there's going to be a problem.
EXT. TERRACE OF RESTAURANT - NIGHT
The "problem": MAMMA MOLINARI sits between ENZO and
ROBERTO, looking like a malevolent storm cloud, staring
across at BONITA.
Mamma, calimari fritti... Zuppa de
pesci. Sono buoni.
Nothing. I'm not hungry.
Mamma, Bonita is an actress like
Sophia Loren, Anna Magnani...
Sarah Bernardt. I sing too... a
hell of a Carmen. Want to hear?
No thank you.
There's an interminable awkward silence. Then UNCLE LOUIS
at last finds his way to the table. JACQUES who is too
grateful for the interruption springs to his feet.
Uncle Louis, you remember Enzo's
mother Signora Molinari from
The whale! How could I forget?
Always was something fishy about
MAMMA MOLINARI is having trouble breathing.
What were Italians doing living in
Louis, we were French!
That's different! What's the matter
Mamma, pesce di spada?
All of them are gasping for air, trying so hard not to
Hey, whale! Can you pass down the
They all burst out laughing.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT AT SEA - DAY
The diving platform is out. The competition has begun.
ENZO is at the gueuse, getting ready to dive. ROBERTO
works around him busily.
BONITA on deck above him is making little gestures of
encouragement. ENZO isn't amused.
Other competitors watch from the Committee Boat.
ENZO turns the handle on the gueuse, plunges into the
Professor LAWRENCE, taking notes, stands a few feet away.
UNDERWATER - ON ENZO
He dives down, further and further down. He approaches
the two medics in aqualungs at the control point (210
They move toward him.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - ENZO
Surfacing. Assistants help him onto the platform.
ROBERTO pulls off his fins. ENZO rips off his mask. He
looks furious. He tosses the depth plaque (which proves
he is qualified) back into the water.
A shit dive.
He looks around angrily for an official. Sees NOVELLI.
Those goddamned frogmen doctors
waiting around at 200 feet they just
kill your concentration.
They're required by law.
There's no law down there! The only
law is what your lungs can take.
(to the next diver)
... Have fun! They waiting for you
down there, to take the temperature
of your ass.
He keeps on walking across the boat, runs into JACQUES,
who's just about to begin his yoga preparation.
JACQUES sees ENZO'S expression, looks concerned.
Anybody can have a bad day!
I've had many... when the sea
doesn't want you.
It's never the sea! It's Roberto,
Mamma, that stupid actress... Oh
shit! Jacques, what do you know?
Go do your Hindu exercises and don't
break my balls!
ENZO stamps into one of the cabins.
INT. JACQUES' APARTMENT - NIGHT
JOHANA is reading a child birth catalog. She throws it
away upside down, as soon as she hears JACQUES
approaching. JACQUES comes in and sits opposite her. He
Well, how was it?
In an involuntary gesture, JACQUES flips through the
Enzo had a bad day.
JOHANA wonders if JACQUES will understand the presence of
the baby magazine.
I didn't dive.
(she takes the
You'll try again tomorrow?
I don't know... it didn't feel
right. I'm going to bed. I'm tired.
He goes away.
You forgot your magazine!
He hasn't heard.
JACQUES goes to the bedroom, and throws himself on the
JOHANA looks as if she had wished he'd put two and two
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT AT SEA - DAY
ENZO bursts out of the water. He rips off his face mask,
throws it on the diving platform, roaring with pleasure.
He tosses the depth plague to ROBERTO.
Let them try.
INT. JACQUES' APARTMENT - DAY
JOHANA opens the apartment door. BONITA is standing
there, a suitcase in one hand.
I wanted to say goodbye, Johana.
They kiss each other goodbye.
JOHANA is very uncomfortable.
(she hands her a
Could you please give this to Enzo.
BONITA grabs the note back and tears it up.
It's no use... Just tell him I said
goodbye... And give him a kiss for
The two women hug again.
Bonita, you shouldn't be discouraged
I don't have the strength to fight
off la Mamma... Anyway who wants to
spend their whole life waiting at
the end of a pier.
BONITA rests her hand on JOHANA'S stomach.
Did you tell him?
Not yet... I'm waiting for the right
... You take care of yourself,
BONITA smiles at her and disappears down the stairs.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - DOCKING - DAY
Officials, NOVELLI, LAWRENCE, ROBERTO and of course ENZO
disembark. There is a lot of excitement on the dock.
Everyone has already heard the news.
People swarm around ENZO.
LAWRENCE spots JACQUES in the crowd, and goes to him.
He really was unbelievable, 328
feet, deeper than the world
... And, Jacques! He held his
breath for four minutes and fifty
Good... I guess I have tomorrow's
work cut out for me as Enzo would
You must be very careful, Jacques.
At these depths, to hold your breath
for over five minutes is... You'd
really be pushing it. I think it's
very, very dangerous.
JACQUES sees ENZO being carried past on the shoulders of
the crowd. He ignores LAWRENCE, runs beside ENZO.
Enzo, Enzo! Congratulations!
EXT. AWARD CEREMONY - NIGHT
(in answer to the
Thank you, thank you very much!
ENZO and NOVELLI stand on a little stage facing the crowd.
ENZO is holding a gold trophy, waving to friends in the
... Now I'm sure you've heard that
some people have suggested it is too
dangerous for us to continue.
Dangerous, because we don't know how
to measure the physiological
consequences of this type of dive
and also because the scuba divers
are not used to going down below 300
While the attentive crowd listens to NOVELLI, ENZO is
gesturing to ROBERTO, explaining what appetizers he wants
from the cocktail trays.
The crowd laughs.
But, we polled the free divers and
they insist that the competition
There's wild applause. ENZO lifts the trophy over his
head, smiles like a champ and yells into the microphone.
Good luck to you all!
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - DAY
ENZO and ROBERTO are on the front deck watching the
A German diver comes up to the surface, empty handed.
The Tahitian comes out of the water in a semi-coma. The
doctors carry him away. Once he's sure that the diver is
out of danger, ENZO smiles again.
A whole team of Japanese walk over to the diving platform.
The team consists of one diver and six assistants, three
of them playing music to help the diver concentrate. The
diver wears a white wet suit with a red circle on his
forehead. He is concentrating very hard, so much that
ENZO walks over to him to make sure he's okay. The
Japanese diver concentrates with such strength that he
(smiling to his
Fabulous, what a dive, huh?
The diver from the Philippines stands at the end of the
diving platform. He concentrates for a moment then gives
up and walks away.
He's right. What's the point of
knocking yourself out?
INT. BEDROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA - NIGHT
They're in bed, side by side, both of them half asleep.
The only light in the room comes from the open windows.
He rolls over and watches her sleep, looking down at her
adoringly. He slips off the chain with the gold coin.
Slowly, holding the chain, he runs the coin gently over
her body, stops at the level of her stomach and lets it
rest there. She opens her eyes and looks at him,
wondering if he senses something.
What are you doing?
I'm putting you on the coin... Your
essence... That way you'll always be
with me when I dive.
She smiles, closes her eyes. He swings the coin over her
face gently, some kind of private ceremony. She looks
just a little intimidated.
The coin is now dangling in front of her mouth. She
hesitates then opens her mouth, JACQUES lets the coin
slide into it.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - DAY
JACQUES walks up to the diving platform.
LAWRENCE has fixed scientific equipment on his chest.
JACQUES wets and slowly puts them on.
ENZO watches from the deck, his expression has changed.
JOHANA, on the deck also, opposite ENZO, watches a little
worried. JACQUES concentrates then releases the gueuse
and lets himself disappear under the water.
JACQUES dives down very fast. The control takes place at
200 feet, the doctors check him and let him go. He
continues his descent, it's getting darker and darker
The gueuse stops at the level of the underwater platform,
just below the diver, who swims over to him in a sea of
bubbles from his oxygen bottles. He asks JACQUES if he is
alright, JACQUES nods and gives him a huge smile before
swimming off, downwards!
The diver realizes and starts after him. He grabs JACQUES
by one of his fins and pulls him back to the round
platform. JACQUES lets go of the balloon.
The diver panics. JACQUES slowly motions that everything
is fine and slowly paddles up to the surface.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - DAY
The boat's huge stop watch indicates min: 4:50, then
5:00, then 5:10. JACQUES has been down there for over 5
JOHANA is worried sick. ENZO doesn't know what to make of
it and LAWRENCE feels completely helpless. The stopwatch
indicates 5:20, then 5:25 and JACQUES, half unconscious,
brakes through the surface of the water.
JOHANA screams and cries with joy when she sees him. The
crowd applauds. ENZO is somber.
NOVELLI takes the plaque from JACQUES' hands and turns to
360 feet! He dove 360 feet!!!
The crowd cheers in excitement.
ENZO is sullen. LAWRENCE is very worried.
EXT. ON PORT - END OF THE DAY
There's a pile of gear on the dock.
ENZO is in the boat loading one piece of luggage at a
time, JACQUES comes up to the boat. Parked in the
background, we see a taxi waiting with JOHANA sitting in
the back seat. ENZO pretends not to notice JACQUES'
JACQUES watches him for a moment then finally dares to
(pointing at taxi)
... There's a party at the hotel
ENZO keeps loading up the boat.
(after a beat)
Enzo, don't be angry. I was
lucky... that's all.
ENZO throws the last duffel bag into the cockpit.
I'll see you in Amorgos.
ENZO turns around and jumps onto his boat.
JACQUES walks off the dock, past the cab. JOHANA opens
the door to let him in, but he keeps walking.
You go back, I'll walk.
He walks off.
EXT. MARINELAND - DOLPHIN POOL - ANTIBES - NIGHT
The park is empty as JACQUES approaches the pool.
TINA the dolphin, jumps out of the water, swims to meet
JACQUES. JACQUES pats her and kneels to talk to TINA
I won today. I dove very deep,
The dolphin giggles.
What's so funny? Can you dive
The dolphin nods "yes".
So you understand everything?
The dolphin nods.
That's good... So tell me why
they're all angry at me? Why is
Enzo angry? I never wanted to
compete with him. I never wanted to
be champion of anything... All I
want is to escape from them all...
For just a few minutes, no people...
No noise... Nothing but the sea.
The dolphin nods and giggles.
Do you really understand me? Huh?
Are we actually having a
Again the dolphin nods "yes".
All right then, tell me: can I ever
dive as deep as you? Stay under as
A beat. Then the dolphin nods "yes".
Are you sure?
The two other dolphins stick their heads out of the water.
They all nod together.
JACQUES is awed and perplexed at the same time.
EXT. AMORGOS - DAY
The little town of Amorgos is beautiful, mountainous.
It's surrounded by a luminous turquoise sea, with white
villas clinging to hillsides. There is a small port. (we
saw it in the opening sequence) Further along the coast,
we see the Diving Federation Committee Boat surrounded by
all sorts of activity.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - JACQUES - JOHANA - DAY
Through the open windows we can see parts of the village
where JACQUES grew up. He's staring out the window, lost
in his own thoughts.
It's beautiful, isn't it?
Behind him, JOHANA is hiding and throwing up. He walks to
It's nothing. Just the long trip.
I'm a little jet-lagged.
You want to lie down for a while?
No, I'll be fine. Can you just hand
me a glass of water?
While JACQUES gets her the water, JOHANA stares at the
EXT. ENZO'S BOAT - IN THE LITTLE PORT
ROBERTO stands on the port, waiting for his brother.
Suddenly the sound of a motor boat and twelve note horn
echoes in the bay.
The boat has just arrived at the town dock.
ENZO, tears rolling down his cheeks from the wind, throws
a duffel bag on the dock and looks up at ROBERTO.
Is he here?
ENZO makes a face.
EXT. SMALL PORT - DAY
JOHANA sits on the little dock in front of the hotel.
JACQUES pulls on his fins, looks out into the water.
She clutches a stopwatch, ready to set it off.
A few yards behind, hidden between two bungalows, ENZO
watches them. JACQUES takes a few deep breaths and dives
a few feet underwater.
JOHANA starts the stopwatch.
ENZO, who sees JACQUES disappear, walks over to JOHANA and
sits down beside her.
Okay, now we have a good five
minutes to have a nice peaceful
What are you doing here?
Checking out the competition.
Enzo, why do you guys do this?
What else is there?
You know what I'm talking about.
Why do you and Jacques risk your
You risk your life when you cross
Damn it! Why won't you give me a
straight answer, for once?!
Because you'd laugh.
I won't, I swear.
I dive in search of God. If I go
deep enough I'm going to find him.
To me, the sea is a religion... That
surprises you, doesn't it?
(looking down at
Jacques in the
A little... You think it's the same
(shaking his head)
No. Jacques is a creature of the
sea. He isn't meant to live on
earth, among us... You should know
He can learn. He is learning.
You really think so? Did you tell
him you were pregnant?
How do you know that?
You told Bonita, but you didn't tell
JOHANA shakes her head negatively.
... Not yet.
Because he won't understand and it
will just hurt you... Jacques has
been put on earth by complete
mistake. And he's only waiting for
one thing: that some God up there
will turn him into a fish! How long
has that moron been down there?
(looking at the
Five minutes and fifty seconds.
(grabbing away the
They jump up. ENZO dives into the water.
As JOHANA watches panicky, ENZO pulls JACQUES up onto the
dock, in his arms. JACQUES is unconscious.
ENZO is furious. The fear of loosing his friend has
absolutely enraged him. He starts pacing up and down the
Is he alright? What happened?
The fool was asleep! If I weren't
around, he'd already be dead!!! Is
that who you want to live with?
Well, good luck! You better learn
to look after him because I won't
always be here to do it!
Once again he marches off, then comes back.
... How long was I asleep?
Long enough to die. Listen, if you
really want to die, that's your
problem, but don't do it under my
A few steps away, then coming back.
I'll never let you take away my
title. D'you hear me? Never!
ENZO stalks off defiantly.
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT - ANCHORED OFF THE COAST
There's activity. The competition has begun.
A SERIES OF QUICK SHOTS of different competitors at
various points in their dives.
The Tahitian comes up unconscious.
The German comes up unconscious.
So does the diver from the Philippines.
NOVELLI doesn't know what to think.
EXT. TERRACE OF RESTAURANT - JACQUES - JOHANA - SUNSET
JACQUES is in a T-shirt and jeans, rope-sole sandals.
JOHANA wears a light white cotton dress. They both sit on
the restaurant's terrace overlooking the sea.
Below them, a small boat passes. In it are baskets filled
with sponges. JACQUES stares at them for a long time.
Do you ever sometimes just stop and
think how sweet life can be?
JOHANA wants to say something.
... When you dive... with that
machine... What does it feel like?
(after thinking about
... The feeling of slipping without
falling... The hardest is once you
are at the bottom.
Because you have to find a good
reason to come back up again... And
I always have a hard time finding
JOHANA has never looked so sad and lost.
JACQUES doesn't notice.
ENZO who is sitting at the piano behind them, starts to
play, staring at the sea.
JACQUES and JOHANA turn around and look at him.
... You should start playing the
piano, the piano is really
refreshing, it clears the sinuses.
Very good the piano! Tomorrow is
going to be a big day!
EXT. COMMITTEE BOAT UNDERWAY - ON JACQUES
He's alone in the bow. The others are clustered in the
saloon, cockpit in the stern. The boat is moving close to
the cliffs. The monastery looms above them.
CLOSE ON JACQUES
He's scanning the apparently abandoned monastery searching
for signs of life.
A red and blue taxi-boat pulls up alongside the Committee
Boat. In it, LAWRENCE waits to climb on board.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - DAY
ENZO puts his flippers on and grabs his gueuse. He is
serious, concentrating hard.
LAWRENCE'S boat slides along the big Committee Boat and
the DOCTOR climbs onto it.
INT. COMMITTEE BOAT - LAWRENCE - NOVELLI - OTHERS
LAWRENCE'S briefcase is open. There's a stack of graph
paper on a cabin table.
... When I analyzed the data from
Mayol's last dive, it became
(taps the graph
... At the depths these men are
diving, it is a physiological
impossibility that they can retain
enough oxygen in their blood to make
it back to the surface. It's a
function of how long it takes to get
to the bottom, orient themselves and
to return... To attempt to break
Mayol's record is simple suicide.
For the last time. I'm telling you
cancel the competition.
NOVELLI and the MEDIC look over at the diving platform
where ENZO is concentrating.
Molinari's a seventeen time world
champion. Do you want to tell him
he can't dive.
LAWRENCE doesn't answer. NOVELLI is thinking.
Get Mayol in here.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - ENZO
ENZO is preparing. He sits at the edge of the platform
hyperventilating, almost in a trance.
We see JACQUES in the background, talking to NOVELLI, he
then walks over to ENZO and climbs down next to him.
Enzo... I know you're angry at me.
Enzo, it's important.
ENZO opens one eye.
We can't dive anymore. They want to
cancel the competition for a while.
ENZO looks at him coldly. Takes another deep breath.
It's not safe, they say. The
doctors say it isn't possible to go
deeper and live. Free diving is
over as a sport.
You say that because you have the
No! I would never cheat you.
Well that's very nice of you.
He takes a last breath, signs himself and reaching for the
gueuse, disappears into the water.
LAWRENCE, NOVELLI, the MEDICS, and others are arguing.
LAWRENCE is furious that ENZO is diving. NOVELLI is
balling out his assistants.
JACQUES is on the platform watching the others as if they
were a gaggle of geese. He listens to the sound of the
gueuse playing out, watches the depth indicator, the
stopwatches. He knows something is wrong.
He walks over to the edge and grabs hold of a little
oxygen bottle which is there for security. He takes a few
breaths of the oxygen as he puts on his flippers and dives
down after ENZO.
UNDERWATER - JACQUES
JACQUES pulls himself down the cable, hand over hand.
80 or 90 feet down he sees a group of MEDICS coming toward
him carrying ENZO'S unconscious body.
JACQUES struggles with them, pushes them away, takes ENZO
in his arms and climbs toward the surface, frantic,
screaming silently at him, desperate to get away from the
flow of air bubbles from the scuba tanks, the commotion,
the memory of death.
ENZO has a big serene smile on his face. The MEDICS push
both divers toward the surface.
As if they were on land, JACQUES starts shaking ENZO to
wake him up. He then slaps his face but ENZO remains
They finally break the surface in each others arms.
EXT. ON DIVING PLATFORM
They pull ENZO out of the water. The doctors open his
jacket. ENZO motions to JACQUES to come close. He still
has that long smile.
You were right.
... I was right about what?
(after a long
... It is much better down there.
It's a better place.
He tries to take a deep breath, the effort is exhausting.
JACQUES smiles, holding back his tears.
... Push me back in the water...
Jacques, take me back down...
His smile freezes, he stops breathing. His eyes close.
JACQUES puts his head down on his friend's chest and sobs.
The doctors gently try to move him away, but JACQUES
Just give him five minutes! What
does it matter now, anyway... Come
on, just leave him alone!
LAWRENCE encourages everybody to leave the platform.
JACQUES quickly grabs the nearest rope and ties it to his
belt. Before anybody can stop him, JACQUES rolls ENZO'S
body back into the water and dives after it.
UNDERWATER - JACQUES
He holds ENZO in his arms. Lets the dead weight of the
body pull him down, deeper and deeper. The rope around
JACQUES' waist runs out, stops his descent with an abrupt
jerk. When he feels it, JACQUES lets go... watches as
ENZO'S body continues to drift by itself into the
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM
The doctors have run over and are pulling the cable that
JACQUES is attached to. He is unconscious when they pull
him up. They hold him up by his feet. JACQUES throws up
gallons of water. They put an oxygen mask on his face.
(listening to his
The heart is going to stop! The
Suddenly, everything collapses for JACQUES. Sounds
disappear. The image slows down, the light fades.
JACQUES only hears his heartbeat, which slows down.
His heart stops.
Among the crowd around him, he sees JOHANA, fresh, gentle,
smiling. Her movements are smooth and slowed down. She
smiles at him, simply. JACQUES smiles back. The heart
starts again slowly.
The image goes back to normal.
Sounds multiply (doctors, the panic, etc...) and slowly
JACQUES falls unconscious.
The heart started again! It's all
NOVELLI falls back in his chair, relieved.
INT. JACQUES' ROOM - NIGHT
JACQUES is lying on the bed, he has a strong fever.
JOHANA sits at his feet.
LAWRENCE rummages through a medical kit. He takes a pill
from a bottle and gives it to him.
Take this. Have a good sleep.
JACQUES swallows the pills. JOHANA walks over from the
LAWRENCE motions to JOHANA that they should let him sleep.
He goes out of the room.
(tenderly to Johana,
who had started to
leave the room)
JOHANA bends over and kisses him.
JACQUES holds her by the arm, doesn't want her to leave.
Sleep now. We'll talk later.
JOHANA kisses him on the forehead and leaves the room.
EXT. HOTEL BAR - ON TERRACE - LAWRENCE - JOHANA
They're at the little zinc bar. Not talking, not really
drinking either, just toying with their glasses.
ROBERTO passes, stops.
I've packed all of... Enzo's
I'm going to the radio telephone...
... to call Mamma.
They watch sadly as he leaves.
INT. JACQUES ROOM - NIGHT
JACQUES sitting up in bed finally lies down under the
sheets. He turns off the light by the bed.
INT. HOTEL RESTAURANT - LAWRENCE - JOHANA
They've moved from the bar to the table. There is uneaten
food in front of them. A third place is set.
JOHANA looks at the wall clock.
I'll go see how he's doing.
Let him sleep.
INT. JACQUES ROOM - JACQUES
JACQUES is lying on the bed, he is not moving anymore. He
is breathing loudly, as if tired out. From his POV the
room becomes very dark and blue. The noise is unbearable.
The ceiling turns into water.
JACQUES' eyes are wide open. His face is sweating. The
water level, from the ceiling, comes down to him, until he
is swallowed by it.
As he falls into the water, we see a dolphin gulping air
at the surface and going back very quickly to the blue.
The dolphin meets his group, about ten of them, 250 Kg of
muscles, swimming at more than 40 km/H underwater. They
all break through the surface to gulp air regularly.
Suddenly, one of them, leaves the group. He crosses the
blue and seems to make sonar-like sounds. We see a sonar
picture. It's an image in which the dolphin will appear a
few seconds later. The dolphin comes up like a rocket,
gulps air and goes back down.
The sonar image appears again. Finally, the dolphin,
locates a group of fish and starts hunting them, exactly
like a war plane. He manages to break the group in two,
then in four, and this way, he isolates his victim.
He breaks the surface to gulp air and goes back down. He
goes full power. The fish he is after are even more
divided. There is only one left, totally lost and in a
The exhausted fish is swallowed.
The dolphin slows down, goes back up, breaks the surface
in slow motion. Images becomes pale and bright.
He screams inhumanly.
Image is white, black, silence.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - JACQUES
JOHANA opens the shutters.
The room is a shamble of broken glass, water pitcher and
glasses, lamps and vases. The windows are blown out.
JACQUES is lying in bed. There is a thin trickle of blood
coming from his nose and ears.
(in a panic)
Jacques... Are you alright?
EXT. DOCK - JACQUES - JOHANA - NIGHT
JACQUES jumps into ENZO'S boat.
Jacques? Are you alright? Answer
me! Are you alright?
She jumps down into ENZO'S boat. He starts the engine.
The boat is racing out of the port. JOHANA yells over the
sound of the engine.
You've got to tell me what happened?
I saw how it has to be.
JACQUES parks the boat in front of the COMMITTEE BOAT'S
DIVING PLATFORM. He turns on the platform lights: above
and underwater. He throws down the diving cable: 60, 90,
JACQUES gets undressed and sits down in the lotus
JOHANA sits down a few feet away and watches him,
wondering just how far he is going to push this whole
As the cable unrolls, JOHANA starts crying. She
understands that JACQUES is going to dive to the bottom,
into the blue, into himself.
Jacques, you know I love you.
JACQUES is putting on his flippers, and stands facing his
(after a silence)
Don't be sad... It's not because of
you, it's me. It's all going on
I've gotta go and see.
JOHANA starts pacing up and down the diving platform.
See what? There is nothing to see!
It's pitch black down there! It's
cold. You'll be all alone! Look at
me, Jacques! I am here! I exist!
(she starts waving
I'm real! I am not a dream!
Jacques will you look at me?
(she breaks down)
JACQUES has not moved, he still sits motionless, facing
JOHANA doesn't know what to do or say. She is totally
Jacques? I'm pregnant.
That's good... that's wonderful.
It's wonderful for you.
You are the father.
Silence. JACQUES is petrified, without any reaction. He
doesn't understand. She realizes it's hopeless and stares
at the sea.
(after a while)
I lied... to keep you here.
She kisses him.
Promise me one thing.
Promise you won't forget me.
She pulls the line releasing the gueuse.
JACQUES takes a deep breath and grabbing hold of the
gueuse, disappears into the water -- as if swallowed by
JACQUES slides along the cable, pulled by the weight of
the gueuse. He has a beautiful smile on his face. He is
in his element. Night has closed in around him. He turns
on the headlight of the gueuse, it casts a dim light
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - NIGHT
JOHANA has walked over to the edge of the platform. She
is holding the cable, to "hear" JACQUES' descent.
The counter shows that JACQUES is quickly passing the 300
JACQUES keeps going down, as serene as ever. He has
gained a lot of speed.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - NIGHT
JOHANA holds her face in her hands. The counter indicates
that JACQUES is going very fast.
The gueuse jerks to a stop and shakes the cable. JACQUES
turns his body right side up.
EXT. DIVING PLATFORM - NIGHT
The counter now indicates a depth of 600 feet.
JOHANA has felt the jolt of the cable. She cries her
tears and looks down at the water.
The headlight on the gueuse illuminates only a few feet
around JACQUES, as if he were standing in a circle of
light. He stays there, patiently floating around and
around his cable... as if he were waiting for something.
A long form circles the border between the darkness and
JACQUES holds out his hand. A dolphin comes and presses
its body against it. Two other dolphins come out of the
night. JACQUES watches in amazement.
A dolphin lays his muzzle in JACQUES' hand, ready to lead
him off. JACQUES hesitates.
JACQUES lets go of the cable and lets himself be led away.
Their silhouettes disappear in the deep blue night.