By Kelly Luck
It is unusual to find an undersea filmmaker this far inland, to be sure. To find one who creates such compelling imagery doubly so. Ziggy Livnat presents a series of short films presenting the beauty of the world below the waves, and shows the consequences of man’s carelessness and what may be done to remedy it.
There are several short films interspersed with his own commentary. He takes us to such locations as a virtually unknown island off Cuba where one fishing village has become an object lesson in the dangers of over-fishing, and the ways by which it may be alleviated. We visit a lone rock a week’s travel from the mainland, one of the last gathering places of the hammerhead shark. We swim along with these graceful creatures unmolested, and see them as they truly are, shorn of Hollywood convention. We spend time with the octopus, for this reviewer’s money the most amazing creature on earth, whose cunning and abilities put any other species to shame. And finally, we are left among a pod of dolphins, a perfect end to the cinematic experience.
Mr. Livnat’s video work is excellent; he has traveled all over to bring us this footage, and is an accomplished visual storyteller. It is, in a word, mesmerising. There are moments we see bits of stray junk floating among the wilds of the ocean that sound a jarring note in an otherwise magnificent symphony. One particularly affecting moment, in which a dolphin struggles frantically to free itself of a plastic bag, will stay with this reviewer for a very long time indeed. Fair warning: seeing this film may make the viewer wish to suit up and get certified as a SCUBA diver so they can witness the beauty first-hand.
“Sharks” is not what one would typically consider Fringe fare, but it is an amazing presentation, suitable for all ages, and recommended in the strongest possible terms.