The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, directed by Wes Anderson; written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach
Wes Anderson’s, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, is an offbeat and humane comedy loosely referencing the famous French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Anderson, whose previous works include Rushmore (1999) and The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), has created a fable-like aquatic realm, in which themes close to his heart rise above the fanciful.
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Jacques Cousteau (1910-1987) introduced millions of landlocked people to the mysteries of the sea aboard his famous vessel, “The Calypso,” with his television series, “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau,” and his many documentaries. The environmentalist and scuba pioneer co-invented the aqualung, developed a one-person, jet-propelled submarine and helped organize the first manned undersea colony. Anderson explains in an interview that he was attracted to the oceanographer, in part, for his role in World War II as a French Resistance fighter.
Refracting reality, Anderson’s Steve Zissou (Bill Murray)—who is a bit of a showboat chronically off-course—appears to be washed up as the first part of his latest documentary encounters a stony reception at its premiere in Rome (of all