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Documentary: Becoming Cousteau

Written by SWAY

Picture this: a slender male figure coiffed with a red sailor beanie, perhaps smoking his pipe, perhaps still wearing his dripping diving gear. Instantly the name of explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau comes to mind. A visionaire, Cousteau invited millions across the globe to join him and his family of misfits on his adventures through the documentaries he produced. Suddenly from Paris to Tokyo via New York, people became fascinated with a world until then barely explored: the ocean

The story

Explorer, conservationist, film-maker, innovator, author, Commander Jacques-Yves Cousteau wore many hats, his most famous one was of course his iconic red beanie immortalised on screen in his self-produced documentaries ( he was also the inspiration for the movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, directed by Wes Anderson).

A naval officer turned inventor ( we owe him Aqua Lungs, an underwater apparatus very similar to what is used today to scuba dive) and of course underwater explorer, Cousteau set out on a mission to map out and conquer a world that was until then mostly unknown. In its 90 minutes, the documentary gives us a overview of his fascinating life and legacy, without shying away from more controversial moments such as when Cousteau and his men mistreated sharks who were attacking baby dolphins to his contracts with oil companies, for which he explored underwater oil resources in exchange for the money that he needed in order to produce his films.

Why watch it

What starts as a conquest of the sea ( at times a violent one) , turns into a man’s mission to save our oceans and their biodiversity. An example of hope that proves that when we know better, we do better. From being funded by oil companies to becoming the conservationist who created a legacy which still carries on today through his foundation The Cousteau Society (which he founded in 1973 and has more than 50,000 members), Jacques Cousteau was a pioneer and fascinating man from whom we still have a lot to learn .

Written by SWAY



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