Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Give the Octopus an Oscar

The Academy Award for Best Picture of the year should go to a movie that is not on the best picture list.

It is, however, on the best documentary feature list.

The film is “My Octopus Teacher.”

This 85-minute movie is a terrific piece of filmmaking.

A man named Craig Foster, a filmmaker taking time off from work, began diving in a rough area along the shore of South Africa. His underwater swims were called “free dives” meaning he went down without oxygen tanks or a lot of other equipment.

While checking out the undersea life, Foster came upon an octopus. The creature fascinated him. Again and again he dove down to watch, study and film the octopus. Over time the creature came to trust him, figuring the man was not a predator and would not hurt it.

Day after day, for about a year, Foster continued to dive and visit the octopus. The footage he got following the octopus is amazing. At times, Foster was in the water near the octopus when sharks came hunting for food. He watched and filmed as the octopus worked to elude the hungry killers.

This was the most stunning documentary I have seen since watching “Free Solo,” the mountain climbing film.

My family and I watched “My Octopus Teacher” together, streaming it on Netflix, and we loved it. But there are some rough and scary moments in the picture that could give small children nightmares.

Foster narrates his own story and Pippa Ehrlich and James Reed directed the film with additional cinematography by Roger Horrocks.

The Oscars are scheduled to be given out on Sunday, April 25.

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