2. My Octopus Teacher: Craig Foster 2020

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1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
Chapter
1.5 Film, Documentaries, Podcasts
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1.5.2

This is a truly special documentary which starts so quietly you’d think it impossible to leave the viewer at the end emotionally stunned, as well as joyous. I am still thinking about it almost a year after watching it and I think it will remain with me forever.

It is deeply silent and rhythmic as we are drawn under the waves with filmmaker Craig Foster on his daily dive at his favourite spot off the South African coast. Craig deliberately enters Nature on her own terms, refusing to wear a wetsuit or use an aqualung, patiently slipping into the sea to observe the life below, no matter what the weather.

What he sees is what we see if we really look; if we drop our defences and our agitation and enter another world, and it is stunning in its beauty and complexity.

But Craig goes deeper still, losing himself in this intimate place, and as he does so, he, extraordinarily, crosses the great divide between humans and another creature, a soft-bodied creature with eight arms, no less – an octopus! She, even more extraordinarily, reciprocates, and touches his hand and rides on him underwater like a lapdog. The great gulf is bridged and there is trust and there is, however fleetingly, harmony.

The story doesn’t stop there: there is life and death, admiration for her struggles and intelligence, and connection with her existence and the sea in this ‘amniotic sac’ of life that radiates out from her eggs, to the ocean pools where she lives, and to the wider sea and earth that cradles Mr Foster. It is a masterpiece of symmetry, understatement and hope.

 

‘My Octopus Teacher’ can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s0LTDhqe5A&list=PLsWmicNBcv1a9E3dY5KiDdgyQvzjv9wpi

At the end of the documentary there is a link to an ocean conservation foundation established by Craig, the Sea Change Project: https://seachangeproject.com/about/

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1. Build the Nature-Human Relationship
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