Walking Under Water

Everyone who has experienced scuba diving or even snorkelling knows that laws of the land do not apply underwater. This is what Alexan, a landless Bajau in the waters of Borneo, Philippines and Indonesia, tries to teach his nephew Sari. On his first fishing trip, Sari is taught the basics of the livelihood of the Bajau people. The two ponder cosmology and philosophies of life while having a smoke by the evening fire.

The Bajau are one of the last peoples in the world who dive using a self-built, surface-supplied compression system. Besides the half mask, all other equipment, such as fins and forehead lights, are self-made from whatever material available.

The heart of Alexan’s teachings is universal: respect the ocean, and it will respect you. But when fisherman’s luck runs out in a tight spot, even a grown man sheds a tear. Back home, the wife is angry for Alexan coming short, and Sari has to rethink his future.

Episodes of solemn harmony underwater and uncontrollable pressure on land, where the fading culture still lives, juxtapose drastically. Only when diving does a wide and unforced smile break on Sari’s face.

Text: Johanna Siik / Translation: Tapio Reinekoski

Language: Bajau
Subtitles: English

  • Director: Eliza Kubarska
  • Country: Poland, Denmark, UK
  • Year: 2014
  • Length: 77 min
  • Age limit: null
  • Cinematography: Piotr Rosolowski, Lisa Strohmayer
  • Editing: Bartosz Pietras
  • Audio: Franciszek Kozlowski
  • Music: Michal Jacaszek
  • Production: Monika Braid / Braidmade Films


  • Cinema Artis hall 1: Sunday 01.02 - 14:00