Performed and directed by French deep-sea diver, dancer, and filmmaker Julie Gautier, AMA is a video performance project that follows the artist’s graceful underwater movements. Filmed in the world’s deepest pool in Venice, Italy, the captivating underwater dance is titled after the Japanese word for “woman of the sea.” The short film premiered in more than 40 public screenings around the world on International Women’s Day (March 8th 2018), and is dedicated “to all the women of the world.” The artist explains, “For me, this film is a way to say: you are not alone.”
AMA begins with Gautier standing in heavy rain, as the camera moves in to focus on her face. Then it cuts to the artist lying motionless, and pans across her body. When she slowly rises from the floor, it suddenly becomes apparent that Gautier isn’t just on the ground—she’s actually inside the aforementioned swimming pool.
Over the course of about 6 minutes, we can see Gautier holding her breath and performing an incredible routine unlike anything else. She elegantly glides through the crystal-clear, calm water like a ballerina in slow motion. With each controlled movement, her silk-like hair and the fabric of her dress flow and “dance” with her. The film ends as Gautier gracefully rises up to the surface, beneath a sparkling release of effervescent air bubbles.
You can see more short films by Gautier on her website—including the Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin music video she co-directed (Runnin’) which features her free-diving world champion husband, Guillaume Nery. And, check out her collaborative underwater film company with her husband, Les Films Engloutis.