A Powerful Story with Real Olympian Inspiration
A Quick Film Review
An injury to Mariel's diving partner jeopardizes her confidence in qualifying for another Olympic Games. Enter a new partner for the qualification window, and so begins director Lucia Puenzo's Dive (La Caida), released in late 2022 on Amazon Prime.
From there, how Mariel reconciles her desire to compete with both how events transpire and her retrospection of her own history with the coach is the crux of the story.
The real impact of Dive, of course, is that there's a real story inspiring Puenzo's film. Sydney 2000 Team Mexico diver Azul Almazan competed in both individual events (finishing 13th in springboard and 33rd in platform), and in synchronized platform with Maria Alcala (eighth). Shortly after, Almazan denounced her coach as an abuser, but with little effect. That - and Souza's own experience in entertainment inspired production of a film speaking to the issues of abuse in Mexican sport.
The introspection of the coach-athlete relationship is of course timely...with a global #MeToo movement and high-profile investigations across gymnastics, swimming, ice hockey and more - even snowboarding and wrestling. Dive tackles the issue head-on through one athlete's eyes - an athlete looking to drive herself to top level of competition and trusting her coach to do so, while coming face-to-face with the emotional and mental challenges of such placed trust in the high stakes world of elite training.
A sobering yet refreshing look into the issues from a foreign lens, Dive is well worth the navigation into such troubled and sensitive waters. And it delivers a strong reminder of the sacrifices athletes make and ensure to have dreams come true, and at what potential expense.