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A recommendation: The Deepest Breath documentary

One of the best documentary films I've seen this year is The Deepest Breath, made by an Irish filmmaker named Laura McGann. I originally watched it during the 2023 Sundance Film Festival in January and I haven't stopped thing about it since. As an adventure sports junkie all of my life already, I've watched many docs about extreme sports - but very few of them are ever this good. It's a thrilling, emotional, eye-opening, hold-your-breath-until-it's-over experience. The Deepest Breath is playing on Netflix now - available to watch worldwide (Opens in a new window). It's a story about two freedivers, and how they're connected and the bond they have. But it's also about freediving, considered one of the most dangerous sports on the planet. Freediving has already been seen in cinema before, in Luc Besson's film The Big Blue (1988), though much has changed with the sport since then. It's just as dangerous, however now there is much more safety involved - including safety divers who are also freediver experts themselves, trained in understanding what goes on and what to look for underwater. If any of this interests you, this is a must watch documentary. Enjoy it anytime.

Descending to remarkable depths below the sea on one single breath, Alessia Zecchini enters what she describes as the last quiet place on Earth. The Italian champion is determined to set a new world record in freediving, a dangerous extreme sport in which competitors attempt to reach the greatest depth without the use of scuba gear. Freedivers are often subject to blackouts upon ascent, necessitating the help of safety divers like Stephen Keenan, a free-spirited Irish adventurer who fell in love with the sport in Dahab, Egypt. Having formed a special bond on the freediving circuit, Alessia and Stephen train together so she can make an attempt on Dahab's legendary Blue Hole and its challenging 85-foot-long tunnel 184 feet below the Red Sea. Their fates are inextricably bound together by a tragic event that ensues. I wrote in my recap from Sundance that "I was wiping away tears at the end, along with everyone else." The score by composer Nainita Desai also makes this film the emotionally gratifying experience that it is, and the storytelling kept my focus from start to finish. I have been recommending it to everyone already, and I am happy to continue to give it a nudge. Add it to your watchlist and get ready to hold your breath.

Laura McGann's The Deepest Breath is available to watch on Netflix now (Opens in a new window).

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