Skip to Content
Angel Azul    cover photo

Angel Azul 2014

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Collective Eye Films, 2305 SE Yamhill Street, Suite 101, Portland OR 97214; 503-232-5345
Produced by Marcelina Cravat
Directed by Marcelina Cravat
DVD , color, 88 min.

Jr. High - General Adult
Coral Reefs, Sculpture, Climate Change, Water Pollution, Tourism

Date Entered: 02/02/2015

Reviewed by Barbara J. Walter, Longmont Public Library, Longmont, CO

…there is something instantly striking and universal about what Taylor does. He has this great ability to weave history and folklore into beautiful large-scale works literally clothed by their underwater environment – specifically plants and coral. They are eerie and elegiac but there is also a sense of hope. --- from blog at
Worldwide, coral reef ecosystems are decaying at an alarming rate; some experts predict that 80% of them could be gone by 2050. It’s a complex challenge, restoring and preserving these wild and lovely, delicately-balanced ecosystems that play such a pivotal role in the overall health of the world’s oceans. Coral reefs also play a crucial role in supporting local economies, particularly the tourist and fishing industries-- but changing climate, overfishing, too many visitors, and pollution from nearby development are all taking their toll. What can be done now so that future generations might know, enjoy and benefit from earth’s coral reefs?

In Angel Azul, eco-sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor crafts an elegant solution to the problem-- underwater art installations that function as artificial reefs. His sculptures provide homes for myriad reef plants and animals as well as destinations for scuba divers to explore instead of the fragile natural reefs nearby. And, fittingly, his installations serve as barometers measuring the health of their underwater environment—algae collecting on the statues indicates that the water is too warm and nutrient-rich, making it difficult for reef life to flourish.

Director Marcelina Cravat takes us into the artist’s studio to witness the creation of Angel Azul, a stunning work cast from a very patient live model (brief frontal nudity). As with his other underwater works, Angel Azul is cast in marine-grade cement, with rough patches deliberately left on its surface to encourage coral larvae to attach and grow. Visits to deCaires Taylor’s installations reveal strikingly beautiful results as nature moves in and his artificial reefs come to life. Scientists, government officials and representatives from the local tourism industry explain the threats to coral reefs as well as the urgent need for all interested parties to collaborate in addressing those threats.

Visually appealing and thought-provoking, Angel Azul is an outstanding choice for libraries supporting studies in art, oceanography and environmental science; armchair travelers and scuba enthusiasts, those planning a trip to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and anyone concerned about the health of earth’s coral reefs will find much to enjoy and ponder here. In English and Spanish, with English subtitles and chaptered.

Awards Best Cinematography, 2014 Bel-Air Film Festival and United Nations Association Film Festival

  • Best Documentary, 2014 Breckenridge Film Festival