Saturday 21 February 2009

Le Grand Bleu - a different kind of blue

Released in 1988, The Big Blue (aka Le Grand Bleu), was director Luc Besson's first English-language film. Starring Besson regular, Jean Reno, Jean-Marc Barr, Rosanna Arquette, The Big Blue follows the rivalry between two free divers.

Sumptuously photographed in locations round the world including the USA, Greece, Antibes, France, Peru, Virgin Islands, and Italy, The Big Blue was nominated for several César Awards and won France's National Academy of Cinema's Academy Award in 1989. Its languid score by Besson's musical partner Éric Serra won Best Music Written for a Film. Despite this recognition and success, the film is rather dull and in my opinion only rescued by Serra's beautiful and serene score.

Serra's trademake fretless bass, subtle keyboards and percussion, along with Gilbert Dall'anese's soaring saxophone especially on The Big Blue Overture and Huacracocha pervade this pretty soundtrack. Let Them Try is a bit of a low point for me where Serra produces a horribly dated 'dance' track with samples from the movie (he did the same on The Fifth Element).

Viewers of the BBC's Little Britain comedy series will be familiar with a character on the show called "Little Dennis Waterman" a diminutive actor who when auditioning for a part in a TV show always wants to sing the theme tune. Well Éric Serra has his "Little Dennis Waterman" moment when he gets to "Sing da Feem Toon" and warbles the closing track My Lady Blue in his faux Peter Gabriel voice. I suppose it's the chef's privilege that having cooked the tasty repast he is allowed a bit of self indulgence. All things considered though, The Big Blue is a lovely piece of music and another worthy addition to Éric Serra's magnificent musical portfolio.

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