December 1, 2020

“My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix

Who would have thought a documentary about a man who befriends an octopus could be riveting and emotionally engaging? Certainly not me, until viewing “My Octopus Teacher” on Netflix.

While the doc stars Craig Foster who produced the film, the project was directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed with underwater cinematography by Roger Horrocks. The footage was filmed for almost a year, but it actually took ten years for the project to come to fruition.

The result is an amazing look at a kelp forest off the shore of South Africa. Craig Foster dives daily for 300 days without a wetsuit or oxygen tank in this beautiful underwater enclave, observing co-operative and predatory behavior in nature. We see gorgeous-colored plants and creatures as they go about their daily life.

A female octopus Foster encounters literally reaches out to him in heartwarming scenes of human-animal contact. There are scenes of chase, danger and drama, plus a little octopus romance resulting in procreation.

While the spine of the film is the friendship between man and octopus, we watch as Foster becomes a happier human. He improves his relationship with his son who also becomes enamored with this underwater world. The son actually discovers a little octopus which may be the offspring of our female star, bringing the story full circle.

The octopus has indeed been the teacher of this filmmaker needing a reboot. Have a Kleenex box handy.

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