My Octopus Teacher by Pippa Ehrlich & James Reed [8/10]

My Octopus Teacher” is a stunning documentary, one that is almost too outlandish to describe but turns out to be a touchstone of human engagement with a non-human. When free diver Craig Foster commences a year of an ascetic daily practice of diving into a kelp forest near Cape Town, he finds not only beauty but a small, endlessly fascinating octopus with whom he strikes a short-lived (octopuses don’t live long) relationship based on proximity and regularity. Foster observes stunning behaviors, amazing beauty, and the creature’s battles to stay alive among sharks. The narrative alternates the stunning kelp forest scenes and the lucid, yet emotive talking head of Foster. The filmic narrative unfolds in a tightly controlled, subtle arc, and not a second is wasted. Engaging both intellect and emotion, My Octopus Teacher is destined to be a classic amongst artistic works celebrated our connections with nature. Moving and riveting.

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