Grade 8 and 9 members of the Halcyon Film Club went to the Baker Street Everyman Cinema for a screening of The Deep as part of the National Youth Film Festival. Halcyon students participated in a discussion about how film piracy affects the film industry.
The group then watched the Icelandic film The Deep, based on a true story about how Icelandic fisherman Gulli survived six hours in the freezing sea when his five shipmates perished almost immediately. He swam for the nearest island, passing ships, which did not notice his frantic efforts to be seen and rescued. He talked to seagulls along the way as a means of keeping focus on what he had to do. When he reached the island, he was battered into rocks by the strong currents and then realised he would have to go back into the sea as the cliffs were too sheer to climb. He swam round the coast, eventually finding an easier place to crawl out. He then faced an agonising two hour traipse across a razor sharp volcanic lava field in bare feet. Eventually he reached a settlement and was whisked to hospital suffering with hypothermia.
His case attracted interest from scientists as no-one had ever survived such an ordeal before. He underwent tests, which included going back into freezing cold water and pedalling on an underwater bicycle, long outlasting the British Royal Marines who had also volunteered. The scientists concluded that he had a very dense type of fat, rather like a seal, which insulated him against the cold for longer and meant his brain was not impaired and he was able to make rational decisions to keep himself alive.
Our Film Club students were able to reflect on the survival genre, as they had discussed in school the features of good survival films and were able to recognise techniques used by the filmmaker to raise tension and leave the audience utterly gripped and emotional. It was a great opportunity to see a film by an international director to broaden their awareness of types of film-making.
By Stephanie Cooke.