Netflix is being sued over the content of their original French drama film No Limit. The film features a fictionalized version of a real incident that occurred in 2002. No Limit’s plot focuses on a free diver who is implied to have deliberately killed his wife in a diving incident.
The film is based on the story of Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras and his wife, Audrey Mestre. Mestre drowned while attempting a free dive in the Dominican Republic in 2002, with the device that was supposed to carry her to the surface malfunctioning. Before the incident, Ferreras and Mestre had become popular figures in the freediving community.
No Limit focuses on Pascal Gautier and Roxane Aubrey, analogue versions of the couple. The film portrays Gautier as an abusive partner who is jealous of Aubrey’s success. It also features a scene where Gautier is strongly implied to have sabotaged Aubrey’s air tank, causing her subsequent death.
Ferreras filed a defamation lawsuit on Wednesday against Netflix, alleging that the film portrays him as having killed his wife. “I don’t know how people can do something like that,” Ferreras told Variety. “They turned the story around. They put it the way they wanted. That really hurt me.”
The film deliberately includes a disclaimer saying that the production is a “work of fiction” while its marketing claims that the story is “inspired by real events.” In the end, the film makes the connection explicitly by showing Mestre’s photograph and recounting the details of her death.
“This is a fictionalization of stories that were very much in the public eye — from documentaries to many articles and books about this,” writer-director David M. Rosenthal told Variety. He also claimed the film had been vetted by lawyers before going into production. “What I wrote is fiction, with fictional characters… I’m sure he’s trying to make a buck here by suing Netflix.”
Netflix originally released No Limit in September of 2022.