"Requiem for a giant", the film shot by Patrick Masse last November in Guadalupe, has just won the Special Jury Prize at the 44th International Festival of Maritime Film, Exploration and Environment of Toulon. We asked him to tell us how and why he made this film.
ON THE ROUTE OF THE GREAT WHITES
Guadalupe, as we have already mentioned in our pages, is for lovers of the Grand Blanc a magical destination, revealed during the filming of Oceans. Located in the Pacific 240 kilometers from the west coast of Baja California in Mexico, the island with clear waters, where visibility sometimes reaches forty meters, is on the road of the Great Whites. Every year, they seem to stop over in the long journey from California to Hawaii. In August, at the very beginning of the season, we meet the youngest and therefore the smallest. But in the autumn, around November, it is the turn of the largest individuals, often females, to head for Guadalupe.
FIRST IN CAGE FOR PATRICK MASS
Sharks, Patrick Masse knows. “To date,” he says, “I have dived with 14 different species of sharks including the top predators, Tigers and Longimans, and great hammerhead sharks. But this is my first time diving in a cage and the first feeling I experienced was that of great frustration at not being able to share the same element as my subject. After the disappearance of this very egoistic feeling in short, I was able to focus on the animal and apprehend the impression of power and majesty that it exudes. The great white is a bit like the lion on earth, the most powerful predator and the undisputed master of the oceans. "
A LARGE FEMALE THAT CABOTINE
“Only the 3“ actors ”of the film, specifies Patrick, dived out of the cage. No other expedition participant did so even though it was originally planned. If the bars of my cage were far enough apart to allow me to come out of it completely and film some shots, I remained trapped by my regulator and the bottle that was fixed inside the cage. All the shots were therefore shot from the surface cages or from the submerged cage a dozen meters away. But aware of these restrictions, the divers evolved near the cages to optimize the shots of the film. Then, I just had a lot of luck: our large female lent herself to the game! "
And the animal, like many specimens that we meet in Guadalupe, is enormous. Here, the Grands Blancs often exceed five meters in length, particularly the females that we see especially at the end of the season, and are particularly large and massive. Compared to a tiger shark of the same length the great white is almost twice as large. It's a bus, but a bus capable of accelerating like a Ferrari. “François Sarano, interviewed after the film said that his only chest should measure between 2m and 1m…. This is the standard size of 1,20% of sharks… In the limpid waters of Guadalupe, meeting the great white is a spectacle that leaves stars in their heads and that I wish every human being, diver or not. "
EACH MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITIES
“This film,” explains Patrick, “is actually the second in a series (the first was 'Le Bal des Requins') aimed at exposing the shark trade for their fins and the hypocrisy of the West accusing China, the Japan or other nations decimate our oceans: Sharks don't go extinct because they are dangerous or harmful. Their disappearance is linked to the democratization in China mainly of the consumption of their fins used in the manufacture of shark fin soup. But if it is China that consumes, it is the Western fishing fleets that exterminate, with among them the European fleet representing the first shark fishing fleet in the world. Then come Taiwan and South America… ”
The aim is also to raise public awareness of the ecological importance of preserving sharks. The oceans are in danger, and sharks at the top of the food chain are endangered. If such an important link disappears, the whole is going to be unbalanced. The disappearance of sharks is reinforced by the ignorance in which the world population finds itself for what is happening under the sea. The goal of my films is therefore to popularize the underwater world for all those who do not want to or cannot go and see for themselves. "
WITH THE ASSOCIATION «SHARKS AT RISK»
These films will also be used as support for the association “Requins en péril”, of which Patrick is one of the founding members, just like Richard ALLAN who is the president, for the information actions that it intends to put in place. This association is being created but its page Facebook is already active. From the November 10 the film will be online on it and of course on your favorite site: scuba-people.com ... The film will also compete at the 1 Underwater Image Festival in Marseilles at 4 next November . Then maybe in Italy and Strasbourg in February.
BUT CAUTION, NO ANGELISM FOR ALL
If Patrick Masse, through this film and through the association, takes up the cause for the Great Whites but also for the other species, he reminds us that we must not fall into angelism either: “Some people think that sharks are not dangerous. Let them not be mistaken. Armed as they are, large sharks are dangerous to humans. This has been proven several times in Réunion this year. "
But he also underlines that the majority of attacks are errors occurring in conditions of reduced visibility or when the shark is deceived by a lure (surfer's board for example). The damage caused by a large predator is very important, but rarely fatal because the shark most often realizes that it was wrong and usually does not repeat its attack !!!
Fortunately, he concludes, we are not in their usual diet and sharks are rarely aggressive outside of some very territorial species. If they were, humans could never have learned to swim in the oceans. To conclude on this subject, humans are much more dangerous for sharks than the other way around!
2 figures only to attest it: 100 million sharks caught for their fins each year, 60 shark attacks including 4 to 6 deaths on average each year, almost all due to massive hemorrhage, and not devoured as the story goes. the tabloids. ”
Text: Isabelle Croizeau / Video: Patrick Masse