Claudia Varejão · Portugal/Switzerland/ Japan 2016 · 113 min · DCP · Japanese with English subtitles · Documentary Scottish Premiere
Age certificate: 15


A dive, the midday sunlight filtering down through the water. The air in her lungs has to last until she can dislodge the abalone from the rocks at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and finally resurface to breathe again. Without the help of a dive cylinder or any other apparatus to enhance her ability to stay underwater, her whole body is pushed to the limit. Dives like these have been carried out in Japan for over 2000 years by the Ama-San, which literally means – women of the sea. These women, who occupy a special place in Japanese culture, are at the same time revered and misunderstood.


The Ama-San have earned their status as collectors and guardians. What they do, calls into question not only the traditional role of women in oriental society, but also the very nature of femininity itself. This film follows the everyday lives of three women of different ages who, for 30 years, have
dived together in the sea around a small fishing village on the Shima peninsular. Shot between the silent, underwater world and rural life on land, this film is a unique portrait of a tradition that is not expected to survive much longer. On the whole, the women who still dive today are between 50 and 85 years old.