The Funny Thing Is

Sue JorgeBy: G Luke Adamson

I recently watched a film by Wes Anderson called The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The film stars Bill Murray as Zissou, an eccentric oceanographer who sets out to exact revenge on the “Jaguar Shark” that ate his partner Esteban. Zissou is both a parody of and homage to French diving pioneer Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910–1997), to whom the film is dedicated. Anderson’s films employ similar aesthetics, using a deliberate methodical cinematography, with mostly primary colors. His soundtracks feature folk and early rock music, in particular classic British rock.

In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, musician Seu Jorge plays Pelé dos Santos, the ships safety expert.  The film and soundtrack feature Seu Jorge performing David Bowie songs in Portuguese on the acoustic guitar. Jorge also performs some of these cover songs live, in character during the film. This minor detail is what separates Anderson’s films from his contemporaries. The fact that Jorge is singing in Portuguese is interesting by itself, but when you add the familiarity of some of Bowie’s most famous melodies it truly steals the scene.

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