The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus
USA, 2012, 72 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Animals, Cult, Documentary, Family Friendly, Sports
Acclaimed documentary director Alexandre O. Philippe (The People vs. George Lucas) does not shy away from quirky subjects. A repeat favorite at SDFF, he brings his latest feature, The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus, to the screen with eight arms wide open.
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The film opens with exclusive footage of Paul’s over-the-top funeral at Sea Life Oberhausen, Germany, where he caused a media frenzy in death as well as life. Paul’s cremation at the aquarium brings tears to the eyes of those who loved and cared for him. For pundits who believed in his telepathic abilities, it was the loss of “one of the greatest football tipsters ever.” And for skeptics, some of whom sent in recipes to cook him, it was the end of a giant scam.
Paul successfully predicted eight out of eight football matches during the 2010 soccer World Cup. At the height of his popularity, he had a talent agent, a smartphone app, and a record deal. Nations squabbled over claims as his birthplace, and, after Paul’s death, Ireland jumped in to train a successor, while operators of Sea Life anointed Paul II to replace him.
Philippe and his crew interview animal-behavior experts, psychics, football fans, Paul’s Sea Life staff and crew, his agent, Spanish national football team world champions Joan Capdevila and Carlos Marchena, and statistician David Speigelhalter, who explains the 600-to-1 odds of Paul’s incredible divination rate. What began as a 30-minute short soon grew into a feature as Milkhaus editor Dave Krahling and Philippe added cartoons by Italian filmmaker Giacomo R. Bartocci, animation, and crowd-sourced footage and music gathered during production.
- JOEY PORCELLI
In cooperation with Lighthouse Writers Workshop
DIRECTOR: Alexandre O. Philippe
Producer: Alexandre O. Philippe, Robert Muratore
Editor: Dave Krahling
Screenwriter: Alexandre O. Philippe
Cinematographer: Robert Muratore