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Sundance Review | FIVE SUNS | "The Deepest Breath"

The_Deepest Breath - Sundance Institute.jpg
Netflix/Netflix
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Courtesy of Netflix
Alessia Zecchini appears in a still from The Deepest Breath by Laura McGann, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute Alessia Zecchini appears in a still from The Deepest Breath by Laura McGann, an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute

"The Deepest Breath" is a not-to-be-missed documentary that explores a hidden world; an extreme sport you probably haven't heard about and a human bond that turns on triumph and tragedy.

The sport is “freediving” where competitors take a gulp of air and then attempt to see how far they can swim below the surface and return.

A young Italian girl, Alessia Zecchini, dreams of breaking the world depth record, which is a little over 100 meters. Her quest brings her into contact with a young Irish adventurer, Stephen Keenan, who runs a diving school on the Egyptian coast and acts as a safety monitor during competitions, whose job is to helps competitors who may blackout during their ascents.

I won’t give away the twists and turns in the story told by director Laura McGann. But the film shows us something of the history of the sport, the camaraderie, competitiveness and respect among the participants, and the sometimes-fatal beauty of the ocean depths where they compete.