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Ronin Films

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Year: 1991

Classification: PG

Runtime: 78 min

Produced In: Australia

Directed By: Susan Murphy Dermody

Produced By: Megan McMurchy

Language: English

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BREATHING UNDER WATER is the story of a woman's journey into an imaginary underworld city. The birth of her daughter into an increasingly perilous world has unsettled everything in Beatrice's (Anne Louise Lambert) life. Her growing unease prompts Beatrice to undertake a journey - an investigation into human nature, a confrontation with the fears of our time, and a search for clues that will ultimately give her an answer to the central riddle of the film: why has humankind set the stage for its own extinction?

Following a makeshift map left by Dante, Beatrice and her daughter (Maeve Dermody) enter an imaginary underground world - an inverted city - where Herman (Kristoffer Greaves), their mysterious guide, helps Beatrice negotiate her way through a terrain of dreams, memories and strange images washed up from the past.

On one level it is a journey over a night and a day through a succession of landscapes marked by the decay of civilization and contrasted with places of great beauty and ceremony. However, the real richness and pleasure of the journey lie in the symbolic meanings of the places they visit, places where history, mythology, philosophy, science and personal memories become entangled.

It is here that Beatrice must face the darker side of human nature, to unravel these meanings, and to piece together the clues to her riddle. Drawing on the depths of her intuitive wisdom, she searches for a way through this cul-de-sac of rational madness, to learn the impossible art of breathing under water.

"A brave film densely packed with symbolism." - The Bulletin.

"STRIKING ... a sublime use of imagery and music." - Sydney Morning Herald.

"An urgent and deeply personal reflection on the state of a troubled world." - Business Review Weekly.

"A mystery propelled adventure into the dark recesses of the netherworld ... intriguing and provoking." - Cinema Papers.

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