Saturday, March 21, 2015

Swains Island Movie Review

Another Day in Paradise 

Environmental Film Festival Plot: Join Jean-Michel Cousteau and a team of scientists as they explore Swains Island, located 200 miles north of American Samoa. Swains Island has a fascinating history from the days of early Polynesian voyagers to copra plantations. A new National Marine Sanctuary, with pristine coral reefs and a freshwater lake, has never been surveyed to discover what traces might remain of its storied past. Directed by Jim Knowlton. Produced by Jean-Michel Cousteau and Jim Knowlton. Winner of an award in the “Cultural Connections, People and the Sea,” category at the Blue Ocean Film Festival, St. Petersburg, Florida, November 2014.

Swains Island could just as easily be renamed, "The Garden of Eden." Cousteau labels it, "A treasure and source of pride for American Samoa," and it certainly appears to be. One of 14 worldwide National Marine Sanctuaries, Swains Island is a remote oasis that requires a 22-hour boat-ride to visit. Knowlton wisely divides his documentary into two parts - The history of the island, and Cousteau's underwater exploration. Not quite as spectacular as Cousteau's Secret Ocean 3D; but there's plenty of beauty to be had, including some impressive, never-before-seen coral reefs. There's only one Jacques Cousteau; but Jean-Michel's not far behind.