Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Catfish - Cameo - 19/12/10

Ever had a friend request on facebook from someone you didn't know?

Maybe they were a friend of a friend?

Do you have any "friends" that you haven't ever actually met in "real" life?

Online dating?

Ever done that?

Did they measure up to the photograph on their profile?

"Catfish" is a deliciously dark look at a side of a world that is becoming ever more virtual and worryingly less real.  It is also a film that has managed to stoke up a fair amount of controversy over how real it is...much online discussion can be found that claims to highlight how "fake" it is; as if that even matters.  Film should be about provoking some sort of reaction or feeling from its audience and "Catfish" manages that in fine style.

When photographer Nev Schulman receives a painting of one of his photographs from an eight year old girl he strikes up a friendship (via Facebook) with her mother, her father and, most intriguingly, her elder sister .  Over the course of several weeks of online chatting and text messaging (as well as one or two real conversations) Nev is convinced that he may well have found...well, if not the one then certainly one of the ones!  Megan (the elder sister) is beautiful, talented and interested in him...everything is perfectly set up for a meeting and then romance.

Of course there isn't much mileage in a film that tells such a simple story in such a simple way and there is indeed a twist in "Catfish"...a twist that I can't really say anything about without ruining the entire point of watching the film but what I will say is that the catfish of the title refers to the sort of people in life we all need, for good or bad, to keep us alive and constantly aware.

"Catfish" is produced by Andrew Jarecki of "Capturing the Friedmans" fame and it shares  much in common with that won't leave the cinema feeling anything other than confused and conflicted.  It is also a film that has a real heart, there isn't any hint of mockery or manipulation here and the film-makers are to be commended for that.  It's a film that is worth finding...especially if you have ever fallen foul of the darker side of the internet.  You are not alone.

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