Tom Zé – Liberated Astronaut

By Ígor Iglesias González


Tom Zé – Liberated Astronaut

‘I don't make art, I make spoken and sung journalism’ is the self-definition of the extraordinary Brazilian songwriter and composer Tom Zé, who was born in 1936 in a poor neighborhood in Bahia. His aesthetic of juxtaposition and disjuncture was a musical response to issues of mass culture, consumption, and citizenship in 1960s São Paulo. Nowadays he is often compared with American musicians Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart.


While the other major figures of the Tropicália movement, such as Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, went on to great commercial and critical success in later decades, Zé moved out of the public eye by the 1980s. It was only in the 1990s, when the musician and Luaka Bop label head David Byrne enthusiastically discovered an early Zé record and offered to record his music, that he returned to performing and releasing new material.


Tom Zé – Liberated Astronaut


Remaining true to the experimental and Dada impulses of Tropicália, Zé has been noted for his unorthodox approach to both melody and instrumentation. While his work appropriates styles such as samba, bossa nova, Brazilian folk music, forró, and even American rock and roll, he has also been praised by avant-garde composers for his use of dissonance, polytonality, and unusual time signatures.


First time filmmaker Ígor Iglesias González employs a clever montage of scenes from workshop sessions to concerts, creating a splendid homage to a man, who at the age of 73, is as boisterous and energized as a kid.


Tom Zé Astronauta Liberado


90 min. / HD

Language: Portugese

Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Ígor Iglesias González

Cinematography: Cristina Rodríguez Paz and David Dominguez

Editing: Ígor Iglesias González

Production: Ígor Iglesias González for Xique Xique Films

Born in Asturias, Igor Iglesias Gonzalez moved to Madrid in 1995, where he began his career as a technician in the world of cinema. He has worked as an assistant editing and video-assistent for Pedro Almodóvar, Alex de la Iglesia, Frederick Forrestier and Vicente Aranda. In 2007, he decided to return to Asturias to devote himself fully to the project and first film he had begun the year before: a documentary feature on the Brazilian musician, Tom Zé.