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Secrets of the Octopus Mesmerized Sun Valley Crowd
Thursday, April 18, 2024


The phrase "Reach out and touch someone" offers new meaning when it involves an eight-limbed octopus.

That is, amazingly, what you'll find yourself coming face to face with in James Cameron's "Secrets of the Octopus."

The Sun Valley Film Festival screened this absorbing documentary during its March 2024 run. And, now, the film will premiere on Earth Day--April 21--on the National Geographic Channel. The show will stream the next day on Hulu and Disney+.

The film, narrated by Paul Rudd, was one of a numerous excellent documentaries that the SVFF presented this year. Among them, "Join and Die," which touts that American democracy depends on people joining clubs, and "Where the Rope Ends," an amazing story following a Seattle trauma nurse's recovery from a 60-foot fall while canyoneering in Wallace Falls State Park.

It also included the National Geographic series "Photographer;" an episode of "Trafficked," during which the star Mariana van Zelter told the audience about being stranded in Niger during a military coup, and "Maya and the Wave," about one of the world’s best surfers trying to make a comeback after a devastating accident. It will get a Best of the Fest Encore Screening at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 26, at The Argyros.

"Secrets of the Octopus" features mesmerizing footage, allowing viewers to get up close with the soft-bodied creatures as they glide around the ocean floor. Octopus, according to National Geographic, are like aliens on earth with three hearts, blue blood and the ability to squeeze through a space the size of their eyeball.

They're squishy and weird and one of the most intelligent creatures on earth, able to use tools to hide under and able to transform their bodies to mimic other animals, rocks and coral to camouflage themselves.

They demonstrate empathy and compassion for one another, and they can communicate with different species, including humans. When National Geographic explorer Alex Schnell approaches an octopus during the documentary, the eight-legged creature does indeed reach out and touch Schnell after a moment's hesitation.

And guess what octopus is the biggest of the 300 species out there?

That would be the reddish pink jumbo Giant Pacific octopus, also known as the Northern Pacific giant octopus in the Pacific Northwest. It can tip the scales at 600 pounds, according to National Geographic. And it measures 30 feet across, which is a lot of arms!

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