The Silent World (1956)

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The Silent World (Le Monde du Silence) was the 1956 documentary that cemented the reputation of French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Having previously utilized his specially designed underwater camera on a series of short subjects, Cousteau extended his cinematic know-how to the feature-length form. The expedition shifts focus throughout from Cousteau's tiny boat to the below-the-waves explorations of his assistants; not surprisingly, it is the "wet" scenes that hold more fascination. Cousteau was assisted throughout production by Louis Malle, whose sense of dramatic construction lent substance to the underwater footage. The Silent World won both the Academy Award and the Cannes Film Festival's Golden Palm.

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