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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 16:11 GMT 17:11 UK
Banned film to screen in Italy
Luc Besson
French director Luc Besson made The Big Blue
A controversial film by French director Luc Besson which was banned in Italy for 14 years will be shown there for the first time on Friday.

The Big Blue, which stars Jean Marc Barr and Jean Reno, tells the story of free-divers Jacques Mayol and Enzo Majorca, who set records for deep sea diving without breathing apparatus in the 70s and 80s.

It was originally released in 1988 and was a big hit across Europe.

However, Italian-born Majorca went to court after its release to prevent the film from being shown in his home country, saying it portrayed him in a negative light.

He has now approved a shortened version of the film which will be shown in Rome in Friday.

"The film deserves to be seen given that Jean Reno succeeds in portraying some of my character traits," said Majorca, following a screening at the EuropaCinema festival in Tuscany last week.

Documentary

"Jacques Mayol lived for the sea, but me, I could not live without the land," he added.
Jacques Mayol
It was based on the life of diver Jacques Mayol

Majorca has had no contact with either Besson or any of the cast since the film was first released.

Mayol, the first man to dive to a depth of 100 metres without breathing equipment, committed suicide last December at his home on the Italian island of Elba. He was 74.

Majorca said that he had met up with Mayol shortly before he died, and the pair had discussed making a documentary together.

The Big Blue, which was re-released in 1998 in director's cut form, turned Barr and Reno into stars.

Barr has appeared in Breaking The Waves and Dancer In The Dark, among others, while Reno's film credits include Godzilla, French Kiss and Besson's cult hit Leon.

See also:

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