The South African Netflix documentary, “My Octopus Teacher”, has won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.
The documentary is about a filmmaker who forges an unusual friendship with an octopus living in a South African kelp forest, learning as the animal shares the mysteries of her world.
The documentary depicts a bond between an octopus and filmmaker, Craig Foster. The heart-warming story takes place in False Bay. It’s the first Netflix original documentary to come out of South Africa.
The film shows how, in 2010, Foster began free-diving in a cold underwater kelp forest at a remote location in False Bay, near Cape Town.
The location was near Simon’s Town on the Cape Peninsula, which is exposed to the cold Benguela current of the Atlantic Ocean.
He started to document his experiences and, in time, met a curious young octopus that captured his attention. He decided to keep visiting her, tracking her movements every day for a year to win the animal’s trust.
They form a bond where she plays with Foster and allows him into her world to see how she sleeps, lives, and eats. In the film, Foster describes the impact of his relationship with the octopus on his life.
The film shows Foster’s growing intimate relationship with the octopus as he follows her around for nearly a year. She has to defend herself against pyjama sharks.
In one attack, the octopus loses an arm, and retreats to her den to recover, slowly regenerating the arm over three months. In a later shark attack, she shows an incredibly improved creativity to survive, including sticking on the shark’s back.
Later, after mating with a bigger octopus and producing a large number of eggs, she dies naturally while tending to her eggs and a shark takes her body away.