Re: Vigo. Ah, the canonisation an early death can bring with promise unfulfilled and a resultant small body of work where relatively modest efforts are elevated to an overburdened scrutiny and status undeserved. It's interesting with such cases the funnelling effect this can have, perhaps bearing out our yearning for tragedy with a romanticisation of an (heroic) life terminated and the yearning for more unassuaged.
Some truly great shots here both above and under water serve as a paradigmatic axis for how filmmakers could shoot in close ups. Although a documentary, this does not deter Vigo from exploring surreal significations. Thus, the imagery of water is often magical and the whole endeavor, particularly in the fast-backward shots, has something of the Cocteauesque surreal play with mirroring and (cinematic) reflection.
The post below me pretty much hits the nail on the head. Pretty standard subject matter but Vigo's style is so wonderful, it makes the film worth watching. And once again Vigo's slow motion shots are impeccably ingenious and beautiful.
Watching this felt like looking at a sketch-book of Vigo's, where he was working out various ideas about what to do with camera placement, lighting and editing. I was left a bit cold by the whole thing. I'm not a huge fan of Vigo, so I didn't get that joy of filling in the missing pieces of someone's work. More broadly, it is has academic value in seeing how the medium was being played with early on.
I'm new to Vigo, but here he takes a standard paycheck opportunity and uses it to experiment with form and style. Boring, tbh, until the director throws away the script (a standard documentary/swimming lesson) and uses the camera to film the body electric,