Documentary – USA / World Première
Alexandre O. Philippe / USA / 2012 / 72 min
Songs were written, merchandise was peddled and bookies were robbed. Paul the Octopus left his tentacular mark wherever his name was mentioned. Philippe’s humorous but affectionate The People vs. George Lucas-esque documentary examines the scale of his success and brings to our attention how even cephalopods can possess remarkable skills of clairvoyance.
The cynics among us could view Paul as a symbol of directionless progression in an age when we “follow” people and seem to look for prophets at every corner. Others however could see him as a talismanic force, capable of conjuring up fresh discussions on psychic prowess and possibility. Whether you wish to pin his eight correct football predictions to mathematical improbability or genuine telepathic skill remains your choice, but Philippe’s documentary tells Paul’s story with enough balanced tongue-in-cheek whimsy and philosophical inquiry to cater for both outcomes. Even down to what nationality Paul was, the desire to claim him spread right around the globe. Though these discussions drift a bit too far from the line at times and into ludicrous territory, the film is about how the whole world saw in Paul what was perhaps missing in society: random and unprecedented victory, the kind which brings actual marvel and unity to a divided world.
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