MY OCTOPUS TEACHER
(director/writer: Pippa Ehrlich/James Reed; cinematographer: Roger Horrocks; editor: Dan Schwalm/Pippa Ehrlich; music: Kevin Smuts; cast: Craig Foster (filmmaker), Tom Foster (son); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Craig Foster; Netflix; 2020-S.Africa-in English)
“A crowd-pleasing animal loving film.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The family-friendly feature film debut of the eco-journalist Pippa Ehrlich and the established nature-doc producer James Reed (“Rise of the Warrior Apes”) is a crowd-pleasing animal loving film about the relationship of a man with a female octopus (an eight-armed cephalopod), with the animal being humanized. Credit for its success goes to a large extent to Craig Foster, the film’s producer-narrator, South African filmmaker and conservationist. The octopus’s life-span is usually three years, the film covers her relationship with the diver Foster for a year and a half.
In the kelp forest of South Africa’s Cape of Storms, the free diving Foster made contact with one octopus and got the filmmakers to follow this growing relationship through its cameras. It was shot by ace underwater specialist Roger Horrocks.
It amazes us with gorgeous shots of the octopus showing many signs of possessing human intelligence, her ability to protect herself from a shark predator and her playfulness. When it bonds with Foster, we’re overjoyed watching such good stuff, of its interaction between a human and a animal. It’s a stunningly beautiful film.
REVIEWED ON 3/21/2021 GRADE: A-