10.10.2016 - Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Cinema stars partner up with UNESCO to raise public awareness around ocean protection

Pierre Niney, Lambert Wilson and Jérôme Salle open the Publicis Cinéma première of L’Odyssée © UNESCO/Marin Fernandez

On the occasion of the release of the film L’Odyssée, October 12, 2016 in the theaters, director Jérôme Salle and lead stars Lambert Wilson and Pierre Niney join UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission as well as the Ocean and Climate Platform to raise public awareness around the urgent need to protect the ocean.

Paris - Over 200 guests gathered at the Publicis Cinéma on the Champs-Elysées, to attend the première of Jérôme Salle’s new biopic on the world-renowned French explorer-turned-conservationist Jacques Cousteau. The movie highlights Cousteau’s most productive years, as he seeks to balance personal and professional dilemmas with his quest to explore and protect the ocean and its resources.

Inspired by Cousteau’s visionary character and love for the ocean, Jérôme Salle and Lambert Wilson partnered with UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the Ocean and Climate Platform to communicate through the release of L’Odyssée about the important role of the ocean for biodiversity, climate and our well-being, as well as to sound the alert about the negative impact of human activities on this precious resource.

For Lambert Wilson, who had grown frustrated with environmental activism, working with the role of Cousteau was a wake-up call. Speaking to the audience at the Publicis première, he praised the reinvigorating interactions he had experienced through UNESCO’s IOC and the Ocean and Climate Platform in the context of the film’s release. “I’ve met all these younger or less young individuals who do not rest, who hold the protection of the biodiversity – in particular that of the ocean – so close to heart.”

The Publicis première was the culmination of a series of interactions organized by UNESCO’s IOC and the Ocean and Climate Platform with the director and stars of L’Odyssée. Earlier on the same day, Jérôme Salle and Lambert Wilson spoke to over 280 middle and high school students from the Paris metropolitan area during a dedicated edition of the CAMPUS UNESCO – a series of thematic lectures for students from disadvantaged public schools. The event was co-organized with Surfrider Foundation Europe.

Introducing Lambert Wilson, UNESCO’s Director of Public Information Vincent Defourny reminded the youth that Cousteau’s messages resound plainly with UNESCO’s mission. In a society where violence and conflict seem normal, he argued, “the defense of peace must be built day-by-day, every single day. To learn how to live together and respect nature is absolutely mandatory – we are all on the same boat in this planet.”

Lambert Wilson emphasized the significance of Cousteau’s pioneer inventions, including the Aqua-lung scuba gear and underwater cameras. But his admiration for Cousteau’s figure lies beyond the inventor or the explorer. “I wanted to play his part to pass the message, to promote encounters and conversations about ecology and the struggle to protect the environment” he told them. The CAMPUS UNESCO also included a special exhibition of L’Odyssée at the Cinéma Gaumont Montparnasse.

UNESCO and the Ocean and Climate Platform will continue to mobilize audiences of L’Odyssée toward a healthier ocean in partnership with Lambert Wilson. The actor recently recorded a video message explaining the important of the ocean for planetary and human health and calling for urgent action. You, too, can join the conversation on twitter and facebook!

Watch Lambert Wilson's video message in high resolution.

Watch the video teaser of the "L'Odyssée" CAMPUS UNESCO (in French), featuring Lambert Wilson and Jérôme Salle.

For more information:

Rejane Hervé-Smadja, IOC-UNESCO Secretariat (r.herve(at)unesco.org)

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