In a short career that included four films (three of them under an hour), this, Jean Vigo's shortest one, may be his most visually brilliant. It so perfectly sums up the brilliant director's style- it is surreal yet informative, poetic yet playful, dazzling yet unpretentious. It is a film about Jean Taris, a professional swimmer who takes us through some of his strokes and methods, but, like his peer Jean Painleve, Vigo was more concerned with the artistry surrounding his subject than the actual information that subject was supplying. It is as if Vigo found the first person he could and asked him to display himself to the camera just to find an excuse to photograph a body, and one gets the impression watching this that Taris has no idea how otherworldly the motions of his body are becoming. The film is at its most stunning during a sequence near the end, where Taris is giving us an exhibition on the competitive swim turn. He flips around against the wall of the pool, over and over, and then swims up to the camera with a big grin on his face; he is a seal in a tank at the zoo. Yet Vigo balances all at once the human and animal qualities of Jean Taris, making him both an object of our human gaze and a self-aware model who returns it. This is an unprecedented document on the human being and a magnificent piece of poetic art.