DOXA 2019 review: DIVE: Rituals in Water


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      This isn't the most information-dense of movies, given its 72-minute running time, but every one of those minutes is a joy.

      Based on little more than a hunch, Snorri Magnusson began water-training babies in 1990, using techniques that are common now—softly blow on their face and then dunk!—but with a sense of fun and a gift for connection that is anything but. Here, we spend an entire film in the company of Magnusson and his gleeful (and insanely cute) students, along with their frequently amazed parents.

      If it's accepted now that every fresh human instinctively holds its breath when submerged (and loves it), Magnusson has confounded the experts by routinely getting infants under four months to stand upright. He then holds them aloft, like little emperor babies. It's only one way that Magnusson upturns contemporary thoughts on early development.

      He's an odd and utterly unself-conscious man, an identical twin who fathered identical twins—though the movie seems only faintly interested in that.

      Tellingly, it's an American couple who are most trepidatious about his "methods", while a young Icelandic mother has no time for the self-contradicting advice of the professionals.