Last September, a French film rose to the top of the most viewed Netflix films to become the most popular foreign language film on the platform. Under the influence, with Fianso and Camille Rowe, was inspired by a true story to tell the toxic relationship between Pascal Gautier and Roxana Aubry, a couple of freedivers, and the death of the latter. The film opened on a cardboard indicating that it is inspired by real facts but emphasizing in conclusion that it nevertheless remains a fiction and that any resemblance to characters who really existed would be purely coincidental. Concluding with the photo of freediver Audrey Mestre, who died in 2002 while trying to break the world record at 171 meters, Under the influence is dedicated to her memory. Variety reveals that Francisco Ferreras, famous Cuban freediver and husband of French Audrey Mestre has filed a libel suit against Netflix, American director David Rosenthal and the production company, claiming that the feature film suggests he is the murderer. Indeed, the film suggests that, jealous of his wife’s success, Pascal Gautier would have intentionally sabotaged the compressed air tank to bring her to the surface. See also on Konbini “I don’t understand how you can do that. They transformed reality as they saw fit. It hurts me terribly. As the film progressed, I suffered more and more. Everything was so disturbing. Imagine that – without knowing anything – you see a film about your life and your deceased wife and that it takes you by surprise”, he declared to Variety in a telephone interview. Still in the columns of Variety, David Rosenthal recalls that this fictionalized version of a common knowledge story had been approved by lawyers before going into production. For his part, Francisco Ferreras assures that he was never informed of the project and that he discovered the film a week after it was put online on Netflix. The platform has not yet commented on the case. The American media points out that an ESPN documentary has already dealt with this tragedy, raising shortcomings in terms of security and involving the responsibility of Ferreras. A former financial partner of the diver has also written a book about the affair, holding the latter responsible for the death of Audrey Mestre. Francisco Ferreras has also written about his side of the story and the death of his wife. His work should be adapted for the screen by Francis Lawrence and produced by James Cameron, with Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Mestre.
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