Movie "Kill Octopus Paul" takes look at soccer betting

Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:15am EDT
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By Roya Stevens

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - Shortly after the passing of the world's beloved eight-legged soccer soothsayer, a Chinese film called "Kill Octopus Paul" is challenging the truth behind the oracle octopus who correctly predicted World Cup results.

Director Xiao Jiang's fictional thriller follows a group of Chinese soccer enthusiasts who travel to South Africa to uncover an international betting cartel conspiracy.

The plot twists and turns as viewers find out that the legend of Paul, the visionary mollusk, was fabricated and manipulated to aid a match-fixing scheme and international betting ring.

"I really like soccer and I love the World Cup. But I know the World Cup had a lot of people betting on it," said Xiao, after a media preview in Beijing on Thursday.

"So when I started to think about making this movie, I wanted to film about people who because of betting encountered some sticky situations."

English-born Paul made headlines across the globe after he correctly forecast how Germany would fare in seven matches, before his oracular abilities were challenged ahead of the final between Spain and the Netherlands. He picked Spain, the winner.

Before each game, two containers of food were placed in Paul's tank, each one adorned with the flag of the teams that were about to compete. The container Paul chose first was seen as his pick.

While Xiao said she did not believe in Paul's soothsaying abilities herself, his fame was key in gaining greater global interest for the World Cup.   Continued...

<p>Paul the octopus is seen before entering the 'England 2018 World Cup bid box' in the Sea Life Centre in Oberhausen, Germany, in this undated handout photograph received in London on August 20, 2010. REUTERS/Sea Life Centre/Pitch/Handout</p>