I´ve watched „Chasing Bubbles“ years ago and immediately sent out the link to many of my sailing friends with a string recommendation. “Chasing Bubbles” is a classic, I shall say and to those of you who haven´t seen it yet: Just do it! This documentary is among the best made sailing documentaries I have ever watched: The level of professionalism in editing, filming, sound and compositing is absolutely spot on. Which is extraordinary since it has been produced not by a pro-crew but amateur film makers.
But what makes it so outstanding? Well, let me put it this way: It is certainly not the style of filming and editing, it is the exciting, exhilarating and touching story of the protagonist, Alex Rust, which is so extraordinary, so heart-wrenching that will set “Chasing Bubbles” forever apart from most of the other sailing stories. In its tragedy it may be compared to the story of Mike Plant as seen in “Coyote” or the Crowhurst-epic.
What “Chasing Bubbles” is about
I think I do not spoil you if I reveal what is apparent from the first minute on the film starts to roll: During these first minutes I felt inside a growing discomfort, a feeling of something bad going to happen – tragedy looming. You kind of know from the beginning, that the hero of the film, said Alex Rust, won´t survive. So, in this, during all the wonderful scenes of excitement, of people having the time of their lives, you have a pain in you guts: “This great guy is going to die.”
Alex Rust is a farm boy from Indiana in the United States. He left his home, his family, his friends and a safe life to seek adventure. But for Alex, “adventure” is a different level – he always takes thinks up a notch. Somehow he has the idea to sail the Caribbean, buys a boat, teaches himself how to sail and casts off. In this, he gathers people around him who help him, who accompany him and from which he can learn. The first part of the film shows his astonishing transformation from landlubber to a keen sailor. This is also when BUBBLES, his next boat, enters his life.
A candle, burning from both ends
The documentary shows original material filmed by the BUBBLES-crew during the sailing trip through the Caribbean waters and interview-like sessions with all of his friends, apparently shot long after the fateful sailing trip ended. All of his friends tell stories what Alex´ life was all about: He was a candle that burned all so brightly from both ends. Embracing life in all its facets, devouring what nature offers in all its glory. Alex takes BUBBLES all around the Caribbean, summoning a crew of great people.
It is so emotionally touching to seeing his friends and even his ex-girlfriend talking about him. Never forgetting the looming danger and – supposedly near – end of his life, you kind of get sucked in into the spirit aboard BUBBLES and the joy of the trip. His friends paint a vivid, lively picture of how Alex was like, how enthusiastic, rousing and extraordinary his personality was. Caring, open, always positive. A man who didn’t cared for himself, but hauling out life and positive energy to the people surrounding him. Tragedy hits you hard, with full force, no remorse.
Why you should watch “Chasing Bubbles”
Although the end is no surprise, this wonderful roller coaster ride is an absolutely marvelously arranged piece of art in the best tradition of classic Greek tragedy. Wonderful pictures, landscapes and sailing shots combined with interview-snippets of equally vivid and colorful people who accompanied Alex. The whole film is building up tension and filling your heart with joy and beauty, just to let crunch down the hammer of hard reality on you and smash into your guts before the end. This is how life goes.
And from my point of view, that is the wonderful, simple and honest message of this movie: Go out, enjoy what this Earth has for you! Don’t waste your time with a life filled with routine and sorrow. Don’t die regretting the things you didn’t do – but rather die doing the things you love! Alex Rust is an extreme, for sure, but the story of his life, so wonderfully told by this movie, shall be inspiration for us all. Let me know how you liked it, your comment is appreciated – the movie may be watched here for free. Alex, have fun up there!
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