My Octopus Teacher: THE 2020 Love Story
Craig Foster’s journey captures his bond formulated with a wild octopus over a year; a scintillating escapade of scenic vistas, unexplored sentiments, and innate confidence, the tip of Africa offered Foster a matriculation of historic friendship at the Cape of Storms. Burned out from decades of filming and devoid of passion, Foster possessed a ‘deep longing to be inside that world’- a world of liberation and exploration. Describing it as ‘another planet’ where the ‘animals are extremely exotic and strange’; the documentary film reinforces the necessity of our development alongside the ‘wild’, whilst inducing sentiments by the tide.
Directed by Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed, the interspecies relationship educates, and moves, the modern spectator as Foster unveils an underwater dynasty of hues and creatures, where the tribulations of hunters and prey exhilarate our minds and ache our hearts. As the octopus teaches Foster how to ‘become sensitised to the other’, our very understanding of oceanic habitats arrives at a singular conclusion- we realise ‘just how precious wild places are’.
Unlike past marine productions, My Octopus Teacher entails elements of personal development exhibited by a man venturing into the harrowing waters of South Africa; utterly brilliant and intellectually motivating, what he unmasks are stark parallels, of animalistic nature, between man and a species that is ‘very interested, very curious, but not taking stupid chances’. Highly recommended by TheVibe, the cinematic revelry is undoubtedly a must-watch for viewers prepared to witness the redefinition of the very foundations of what we’ve come to familiarise ourselves with regard to our understanding of aquatic creatures. Patient and stimulating, Foster, over 300+ days, inherently captures ‘the pure magnificence’ of an oceanic inhabitant showcasing behavioural patterns unknown to divers, birthing a documentary of aquatic zenith.
It may seem utterly incomprehensible to regard Foster’s notion about there being ‘something special about her’, where the ‘her’ refers to a wild octopus. Yet, ‘something happens when that animal makes contact’ and as a viewer, you hold your breath, just as Foster does, as the tentacles of caution, curiosity, and rarity coil around you. Eventually, as the film progresses, you find yourself hoping, waiting, and blanketed by emotions perhaps too startling to contemplate. As you witness Foster depicts how ‘the boundaries between her and I seemed to dissolve’, it is not widely complicated to feel yourself at ease within your own spaces. And eventually, as he carries forth with his venture to ‘visit her every day and see what’s going on’, the generic audience is fuelled with a newfound appreciation and uncharted admiration for a creature whose ‘entire being is thinking, feeling, exploring’.
The cherished nature of the bonds we build, and a spectrum of many variations, the documented visuals pay ode to a relationship which aided Foster to take pleasure in his life once again, coupled with the passion to rebuild, and reform, his bonds with those around him (particularly his son, Tom). The remarkable creation of the documentary indubitably lies in its ability for viewers to vicariously, through Foster, feel ‘as if somehow what happened to her had happened to me in some strange way’. Aware of ‘being on the brink of something extraordinary’, Foster, in this Netflix Original, battles with the despondent understanding of ‘a line that can’t be crossed’ while in a world ‘much more extreme than our maddest science fiction’, as he righteously deems it.