4 min read.Updated: 11 Apr 2021, 11:24 PM ISTManu Joseph
We like other species to show that their lives are more than just about eating and reproduction
Documentary’ is an expletive. To many of us, it has come to mean a dreary film, and of late, a piece of sanctimonious propaganda issued by the empathy industry. So there has to be a more reverential way of classifying My Octopus Teacher, a film that I kept hearing about even before it was shortlisted for an Oscar in the ‘Best Documentary Feature’ category. Maybe we should call all unearthing of facts about us ‘anthropology’. And that is what I want to call My Octopus Teacher—a beautiful work of anthropology. But then, as you will see, it is an unflattering description of the film, which thinks of itself largely as the biography of a feral common octopus. But in reality the film is about its biographers—us. It is always about us. Everything we see, especially in animals, is all about us. We are full of ourselves. That is the human condition.