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[Featured]: Netflix Documentary: My Octopus Teacher

dleo4590

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I'm curious what @TheSeeker thinks, but from my view, some of the "reaction" shots from the octo were surely selected from "b-roll" content, but that's to be expected. I did find myself wondering a bit about the shark interactions, at least how they were sequenced.

And it's hard to look past the filming crew, because the premise of the documentary was that this was Craig's personal journey and discovery, but there was a lot more live filming involved and necessary to capture all that action. The main shark incident happened quite a distance from the den, for example, so they had to follow her there.

Lastly, the free-diving aspect had me wondering.... that's a LONG time to hold your breath! I know with training we can do amazing things, but on the whole it became a lot to take in.
Well that is to be expected. Reenactments are necessary to "retell" it and it all may very well have been fabricated since the shots seem to almost follow the real life sequence to a tee. Either way I don't get hung up on that stuff, it's entertainment but informative in the process and I think it accomplished what it was meant to.
 

dleo4590

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I don't know how to interpret this. I know some may think the film was pretentious or overdone and I do see the humor in the spoof video, but I just hope it's not bashing the story or the making fun of the idea that we as humans can actually learn from these animals/things in nature or the very real fact that it won't be long before there won't be too many places left that haven't been impacted by pollution or warming sea temperatures. I think this film was also meant to get people interested/refocus interests because it's overlooked and I remember before we moved from San Francisco, when we would go for walks on the beach, you could literally fill a whole trash bag with the garbage that lines the shore, and that includes dead sea life and it wouldn't be enough there's just so much of it.

We'd always see people walking dogs and there were so many dog waste bags just left there it was very infuriating. I used to take pictures on my phone of what was left or had washed but I realized it wasn't going to stop and we would pick up what we could but it's never enough. You could spend all day cleaning it up and go back the next day there would be more. I even saw those granule cap sheets that's used for roofing houses, the part that shingles are placed over just rolled up and tossed there like a dump site.
 

tonmo

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sad about San Fran. For the video, I just thought it was a very funny spoof, it doesn't take away from the documentary, that's for sure! Pure absurdist humor, I lol'ed!

I do hope people take something away from the doc as you suggest. There are a lot of good lessons there for sure, in various forms.
 

qiazopus

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I loved the way they managed to capture the important parts of an octopus' life (foraging, adapting quickly to solve problems, mating, brooding, playing, and finally the inevitable wasting away..). And love that Craig said 'arms' rather than 'tentacles' :nyah:

I kept wondering how they know that was the exact same octopus they were following? And whether there was another octopus encounter that changed Craig's life and taught him new life lessons before he realizes that he needs to prepare all the logistics to have it filmed? Perhaps it's all part of the narration and storyline, but this all-in-one documentary definitely takes the cake.

I wasn't crying, you were!
 

TheSeeker

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I kept wondering how they know that was the exact same octopus they were following?

Another good point. Seeing an octopus in the same den does not mean it is the same octopus. Den competition takes place all the time. Size can not be a definite distinguishing characteristic and very few octopuses bear distinguishing marks. Missing arms are usually helpful in telling octopuses apart.

Other than that, I find it hard to believe that all the important incidents of this octopus's life happened on days where water conditions allowed for such clear shots.

On the other hand, I kept thinking that everything is possible when octopus is the subject-matter. I love stories, life is so full of them and it is not worth living without them. So I watched this amazing film trying to forget that it is a constructed tale...The result was, naturally, tears and a lot of teasing from my less sensitive husband :cautious:
 

pkilian

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I agree with a lot of the points raised here. I think that you can either watch the video through a critical, science focused lens (like points that @TheSeeker raised about water clarity during filming, and @qiazopus said about gathering a film crew before having the eye opening octopus experience) Or you can watch it through a less critical, story-teller lens. I think that both aspects of critique are important.

My opinions of the film are mixed and I think that's okay. I'm happy that cephs are a hot conversation topic, and I hope that people who watch this video will feel inspired to donate and support oceanic restoration and conservation. I don't, however, want octopuses and cephalopods to be put on a pedestal as some sort of genius creatures that science can't hope to explain, and I also don't want these animals to be fantasized into some kind of mystical life-changing creature that they aren't...

It's a great documentary either way!
 

dleo4590

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I agree with a lot of the points raised here. I think that you can either watch the video through a critical, science focused lens (like points that @TheSeeker raised about water clarity during filming, and @qiazopus said about gathering a film crew before having the eye opening octopus experience) Or you can watch it through a less critical, story-teller lens. I think that both aspects of critique are important.

My opinions of the film are mixed and I think that's okay. I'm happy that cephs are a hot conversation topic, and I hope that people who watch this video will feel inspired to donate and support oceanic restoration and conservation. I don't, however, want octopuses and cephalopods to be put on a pedestal as some sort of genius creatures that science can't hope to explain, and I also don't want these animals to be fantasized into some kind of mystical life-changing creature that they aren't...

It's a great documentary either way!
I think I missed something....who's putting them on a pedestal? I don't know where that comes from...but you do realize this is a cephalopod group? I don't think anyone here has implied that take away from the film but it's apparent there are some very strong critiques here, which is a little surprising. It's no different than Planet Earth, except the narrator is also a part of the story in which he's telling.
 
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tonmo

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I think I missed something....
It's fairly apparent from the documentary's narrative that the octopus is being highly revered here, with no or little bounds. Yes, we all love cephs, but I think the observation here is that the content could have been a bit more pragmatic in spots, or at least the doc overall could have been a bit more balanced with the dry science. Kudos to them for producing a compelling program and easing in some scientific context and some discussion of species -- it's a good (great) thing to have a ceph doc with broad appeal. The octopus is certainly presented with a dramatic mystique. A truer documentary might have offered more pragmatic explanations for behaviors, etc. If I recall, anthropomorphism concepts are not discussed or considered in this documentary -- it probably would have been insightful, to temper the imagination just a bit, and help us focus more on the true wonderment of their apparent cognition, in a more measured way. One moment that stood out for me (my only small "cringe" moment) was the silly music being played while Craig narrated that the octopus looked like "an old woman walking down the street..." Fun, but a missed opportunity I think.
but it's apparent there are some very strong critiques here,
It's a great documentary either way!
?

The critiques are quite mild, I think -- I believe everyone here (myself included) has classified it as "great!" Good discussion, though.
 

pkilian

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The octopus is certainly presented with a dramatic mystique. A truer documentary might have offered more pragmatic explanations for behaviors, etc. If I recall, anthropomorphism concepts are not discussed or considered in this documentary -- it probably would have been insightful, to temper the imagination just a bit, and help us focus more on the true wonderment of their apparent cognition, in a more measured way.

This is exactly the point I was trying to make. I appreciate any time in the spotlight that cephalopods receive. Documentaries like this and the articles that are written about them are excellent ways to get people interested in cephalopods and other marine life. As a scientist, I can only hope that people are also interested in cephalopods because of their inherent value as animals that are deserving of study and conservation, and not just because they have personalities or make friendships with people.

My personal take is that people should be invested in funding and supporting the conservation of all animal species, whether or not they have human-like traits and intelligence.

Again, this was a wonderful documentary. I appreciate that our favorite animals are getting some time in the spotlight. I also think fair critique from enthusiasts who are knowledgeable about the topic is important for film makers to continue to make high quality content that is grounded in science.
 

dleo4590

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I said what I said, because a lot have commented on the fact that in the film he mentioned he went diving alone when there was obviously a crew or at least another cameraman, how and why is that being an important take away??? I'm glad that they decided to use an octopus as the main subject but it's not the only relevant creature, obviously. I was deliberating starting the thread myself, but waited and sure enough you @tonmo posted about it so I assumed it was open for all viewpoints and perspectives.

I was wanting to know where @pkilian is coming from with his comments of octopus being put on a pedestal etc. It seemed like a very specific and pointed assumption, he wasn't hesitant about tagging people he agreed with but if he has an issue with someone he should also mention them too, which he didn't name drop, so a very passive confrontation if you ask me. It's anyone's right to believe what they believe, if what he's saying is someone's take away, they shouldn't be criticized for it. No one else made statements like that here. Someone just always has to take the inclusivity off of things by making a declaration like that. (If that's anyone's belief, I'm standing up for you.)

This is the very reason I was skeptical about joining an online forum and I didn't sign up right away but the fact that it came from a moderator doesn't leave a good taste in my mouth. I'm over the drama and this group was really not that helpful to me, if I'm being completely honest. It was nice to engage and share with others but I see it caters to only like minded individuals which is the flaw of so many forums/groups.
 

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