‘When I was working out Jonas’s character, I didn’t want him to chase a material dream like a big house, I wanted it to be more abstract, something that might even be impossible to achieve. Living in the sea was a good start. Like Jonas, I chose the sea because it’s a different world, a huge space with immense possibilities that always feels like home when you see it again. In fact, the Dutch title of the film (Zeezucht) is a word we have to describe feeling homesick for the sea.
Jonas falls in love with the peace and beauty of everything he finds beneath the waves. Seeing the way the boxfish breathe with their ‘lips’ is a key moment for him as it’s the first time that he begins to identify with the creatures that live in the sea. Whenever you see a fish in the film, its eyes are shut in contentment, as everything in the sea is at peace with themselves and each other. That’s why Jonas wants to be there, away from the land where everything is about consuming.’