Russ Lamoureux’s “Underwater” explores fractured memory and a broken relationship


In his latest short, “Underwater,” Native director Russ Lamoureux explores the break-up of a marriage in a way that leaves you feeling as adrift as the protagonist.

Inspired by the story of “The Swimmer” by John Cheever, Lamoureux uses non-linear storytelling and compelling visual hooks to guide us from one scene to another, shifting backwards and forwards in time as he plays with the strangeness of memory.

“I loved the idea of trying to capture our story in a way that felt like a memory, where scenes just sort of… happened,” says Lamoureux. “To me that meant as few cuts as possible, folding the cuts we did need into action, languid camera work. In the writing we also tried to mimic the way the mind works, how one memory reminds you of another and your brain just rolls with it.”

The cast, including Ned Brower (Dawson’s Creek), Constance Zimmer (The Newsroom), Katie Aselton (The League) and Matt Jones (Breaking Bad), perfectly navigate the floating narrative, weaving together the painfully lifelike and the surreal.

Although Lamoureux and his writing partner wrote the script some time ago, it wasn’t until he tested the Panavision DXL 8k that he was inspired to shoot it.

“I was at Panavision-Light Iron learning about their new DXL 8k for an upcoming feature project, which happened to share some of the same DNA as the short script. They offered to let us test the camera, but if all we did was see how it handled different lighting scenarios, that opportunity seemed wasted; only a handful of people had shot on this camera and we wanted to understand how it worked on set and what the workflow would be like through post. So we dusted off that script, gathered a bunch of friends on a Saturday in late February, and shot ‘Underwater’.”

Take a look at more of Russ’s work here