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Anecdote from

Lives Aquatic: Mediterranean Cinema and an Ethics of Underwater Existence

Writen by: Elena Past

Cinema Journal

Vol. 48, No. 3 (Spring, 2009), pp. 52-65

Published by: University of Texas Press

Article Stable URL:

In the essay “Lives Aquatic: Mediterranean Cinema and an Ethics of Underwater Existence” Elena Past describes the role the Mediterranean as in Emanuele Crialeses Resprio (2002) and Wes Andersons Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) from the perspective of philosophies of Franco Cassano, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.

In the first part of the essay she explains that the mediterranean is a complex part of the world that connectionist a lot of geo-political, religions, climate between the 20 different countries sharing the pice of ocean. “The Mediterranean seems to have all of the characteristics of either a multicultural utopia, or of imminent global existential crisis” (Past, 2009, page 2)

On page 3 she describe that not only is the cast put out to sea, but the use and setting of underwater is used as a “connection between the saline waters and the contemporary existence” (Past,,2009, page3) That when you move the setting underwater takes one to a new outlook on the world and rethink ones world view.

Even that the movie Resoiro and The Life Aquatic is sett in the same area of the world, they are fare apart as movies. Where Respiro has a realistic tone and gritty look, The Life Aquatic has a curious mix of irony, comedy and sincerity.

Criales movie features the story of rebellious wife and mother of three Grarcia that lives in a impoverished fishing village, compared to Wes Andersons movie that has it focus on Steve Zissu, a melancholic and depressive documentary film make lives in plastell colour fantasy version of the mediterranean with stop motion animated fish and lives on a boat that has every comfort but are both a strong-willed protagonist.

The theme of the mediterranean, sea and underwater focus also connects the importance the sea has with the relationship between humans and the sea. The focus in Andersons movie with stop-motion animation and documentary style shows a lot of discord, something that is every real in Steve Zissues life.

There is many plot lines in The Life Aquatic, its starts on the hunt for the shark that killed Steves friends Esteban, but more and more moves over to a plot about human relations

Respiro cornices the story of Grazias manic resistance of the community. She refuses to participate in the tranquilly of island life. He revolt from the work at a fish cleaner plant and the release of stray dogs that where to be killed. It all leads the island people to try to get here send away of the island.

Respiro seems to follow a neoralistisk-inspired aesthetic with long shoots, deep focus. The film uses also of non-actors and Lapatalusa dialect, something that echo of post war cinema. Later in the movie, there is a bonfire close to the sea and after Grazia return to the island, she entrust herself to the sea

In the movie the effect of filming in and outside the sea is used effect, also called a “edge-effect” thats is when the camera follows from a boat and then follows to and underwater. Its where to ecosystem meets.

One part of the Steves jounry under sea you follow him en a U-boat with his crew to find the jaguar shark. The silence of the crew, the music from the tape meets the conflict of the jaguar shark when they meet it under the sea.

The movie Respiro has a similar theme, on the concept of holding ons breath while underwater, one scene when the actor dive and must hold they breath.

In both of the movie the theme of submarine communicate inspire the scene of movie them into a strange and new environment.That of removing them from know environment. Also the use of language does them same,

Life Aquatic with revenge, the shark, conflict with ex wife and new romance, Respiro with social morality. In both movies there exist mirco-socitiy.

Respiro and Life Aquatic invokes the challenges of the bond to the sea.

Life Aqutive reuse of older cinematic technics, like stop-motion puppets is a way to resis homogenization of film, that big effects now can be made without gong for big expensive digital effects.

The mediterranean sea is always on the egde of things, its makes boarders and occupy the blue border space that separate land from sea.

(Anecdote made in the concept of what I think is anecdotes is, final result may not be anecdotes? )Subscript text