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The Freediver by Alki David

Feature film The Freediver went straight to DVD in the UK, so now all you freediving fans can enjoy it on your plasma screens. It's entertaining enough, and the underwater footage is quite spectacular, but this movie inspired by Greek free-diving princess Danai Varveri is nevertheless a bit of an oddity.
Danai specialises in the finless natural weight discipline, though she does not hold an AIDA-recognised world record, so is not well- known outside Greece. The Freediver, however, sees Camilla Rutherford, who plays Danai, shooting for the glory of an AIDA constant ballast world record (every sponsor on Earth will beat a path to your door!), as the dastardly manager of blonde US champion Maggie Stone plots to foil her bid. Without wishing to divulge the outcome, it deviates from Danais real story by a mile.
Last year in the Greek isles, I was asked if I would like to meet a champion freediver. All I could see at that moment was what appeared to be a small child, her back towards me. She turned out to be Danai, a vivacious and clearly gifted diver. She was about to go for a new record but, unfortunately, suffered a shallow-water black-out on her ascent.
I also met Danai's doctor-mentor. He may have come over as mildly Svengali-like, but I wonder how thrilled he was by the Bond-villain image of his alter-ego Dr Viandes, as portrayed by Adam Baldwin in the movie
Although The Freediver is filmed in English, and features actors of the quality of James Fox, it still somehow feels like a continental film with overdubbing. Alki David directed, and also plays Danai's coach and lover Hector. If he hoped to outgun Luc Besson's much-hyped Big Blue, he has probably failed, but freedivers will enjoy the images and the extra footage, which includes real freedivers Martin Stepanek (breaking a world record) and Fred Buyle (being rescued by scuba divers).

The Freediver by Alki David (FullOn Entertainment, www.FullOnEntertainment.com). 136min,£15.99