How much can it fit between two breaths? My Life without Air is a thrilling view of the wondrous world of a man whose most important moments in life take place underwater during one highly controlled breath. Unrelentingly shifting the boundaries of physicality, he persists beyond the possible, believing that upon return to the surface he will once again be the best.

Goran is the world champion in free diving – a man whose most important moments in life take place underwater and whose willpower goes beyond his humanity, in order to seemingly find a place for himself in eternity. His journey is paved with silence and concentration required by daily encounters with transience. To remain the best in what he does, every day he challenges his boundaries, risking to cross them and be irreversibly punished. My Life without Air conveys the feeling we have when we take a dive into the blue – the complex mixture of excitement, fear, uncertainty and power accompanied by the buzzing silence.

Breathing is something none of us can escape, breath is what measures our beginning and our end. And it is by controlling something as human as breath that Goran Čolak gained immortality, becoming the world free diving champion. In practice this means that every day he is facing the limits of his physicality trying to move them at least a bit and that way surpass all those who strive for the same. The film paints a wondrous picture of a world where finality is indeed present, not only in Goran’s everyday battles with his own limits, but also in his dreams, where he walks the fine line between life and death. The film’s title refers to the condition he suffers from, as well, the result of his profession – in his sleep he often unconsciously loses his breath and risks his life. However, nothing can prevent Goran from becoming the best in the world. In a series of long observational shots, the film draws us in the meditative atmosphere provided by the protagonist’s utmost dedication to his goal. He can achieve it only if he dives in and once again proves to himself and the world that he is ready to take it one step further. A curious atmosphere of the decisive dive wraps the entire film into a subdued buzz of silence and an eerie uncertainty of returning to the surface.


Breathing is the greatest physiological and psychological need, stronger than anything else.

I hold my breath. I sink deeper and deeper into relaxation of body and mind, as though I don’t have them, until the first diaphragm contraction reminds me that my body wants to breathe. Every new contraction gets more painful and it is growing harder to stay relaxed. My body would like to cramp in pain, but I don’t allow it. The oxygen level in my body is dropping. First all the muscles lose oxygen and start to hurt. They are followed by internal organs. Blood circulation centralises and transports oxygen only to the heart and the brain, the only organs keeping me alive. Relaxation is surrendering – I let myself go to my body and its responses. The pain is gone, I no longer feel a need to breathe. This state of body and mind is dangerous, it can lead to a loss of consciousness, but nevertheless it brings to mind a new existence which challenges the boundaries of living and flowing in time.

All I have learned about life lies in the heart of what I do. It is the paradox of beauty, passion, pleasure and relaxation we all strive for. The maximum of deliberate breath-holding is death.

Making the film My Life without Air is my journey to grasp the motives behind deliberate maximum breath-holding, to the level of almost losing consciousness and voluntarily surrendering to this loss. My Life without Air is the world breath hold champion Goran Colak’s journey to life gains.

Apnea is a term for non-breathing, but it is also a sport discipline. When they think about absence of breathing, lot of people feel panic and fear. Paradoxically, the first rule of apnea is: the more relaxed you are, the longer you will hold the breath. Maximal performance of breath-holding leads to losing the consciousness, which can lead to death. However, the top sportspeople who practice apnea will say that apnea is not a dangerous sport at all – if you know your body. Namely, the most successful free divers are closest to losing the consciousness, due to their capability of long breath-holding. During conquests of new underwater spaces in the state of apnea, the level of oxygen in the body is rapidly falling during the last moments of the dive, which can cause the sudden loss of consciousness. That signifies that the brain is stopping to function. Two-three minutes after the brain stopped functioning, the heart stops too. During pregnancy this problem is double.

I’ve been training apnea for five years. When I started to train, I began to learn about all specificities of body in apnea. After first impressions, my love for this sport and people who practice it began to grow rapidly. I was captivated by the unique experience of breath-holding. By studying the medical theory of processes inside body during hypoxia and observing the work of the trainer of Croatian apnea representation Ivan Drviš and other divers, I realized that medicine is lagging way behind with its theories about human body. I saw how fascinated people are by the freedivers, and how this is unnecessarily mystified. Many people are still distrustful toward those who practice apnea, even though they assert themselves with results.

For entire five years I’ve been participating in the new medical research about brain in apnea, led by Ivan Drvis with divers and world’s best doctors of medicine in this field. It’s very simple: every human possesses the diving reflex, but one should liberate it. This film speaks about this liberation. Although apnea may seem like a gambling game between life and death, the awareness of one’s own psycho-physical condition offers security which enables one to enjoy in breath-holding. The diving reflex opens the door to the world in which we cross the limits of the known.