Monday, 31 January 2011

Day 127

There were two big challenges I signed up for when I decided on my main project for this year-long scriptwriting course. The first challenge with it is to write for an almost exclusively female cast without excluding a male audience, and the second challenge is to make computers interesting. Lots of people think of The IT Crowd when they think of successful TV shows about computers, but it’s not about computers in the slightest. You get maybe one or two shots of a screen in three series.

My tutor recommended something that made computers interesting – a 2010 documentary called Catfish. I watched it just now, and it’s astounding and fascinating.

It’s by three happy and good-looking young New Yorkers. Two of them decide to make a documentary about the third, Nev, a photographer who has received in the mail a painting of one of his most well-known photographs. The painting is by an 8-year-old girl, and on Facebook Nev begins an innocent friendship with this cute child prodigy and her mother and her beautiful older sister.

As much as I’d love to ramble about what follows in massive obsessive, gleeful depth, I can’t, it needs to be watched (and no trailer, review, clip or Wikipedia page can even begin to do it justice). But it’s amazing. It’d be unbelievable if you couldn’t see the reality in all their faces.

At times there’s a feeling of exploitation, but the filmmakers are three extroverted young guys, so of course their priority is entertainment and curiosity at times. There’s one scene that’s especially hilarious, and it wouldn’t be if it wasn’t a documentary. No scriptwriter would ever think of it. But there’s an amazing array of emotion, and there’s no sense of maliciousness. No kicking up dust for the hell of it, no fierce interventions, no showdowns. There's nothing sinister about it, though because the subject is the internet you'd expect there to be. In fact, the film is gentle and benign despite being extremely suspenseful, and its message isn’t anywhere near what you’d expect it to be.

As much as I liked The Social Network, Catfish is the other film about Facebook that came out in 2010, and I don’t know how long we have to wait for it to be revered.


2 comments:

  1. Catfish was a quality documentery - i loved when it was coming out and it was promoted as another found footage horror film by large sections of the press - something that will surely have lead to parts of the audience going 'what?' about half way it. In saying that the result is a lot more haunting than any blair witch clone, particularly because it actually is real (even if some of the peripheral bits like the postcard appear to be fairly dubious). Is frustrating to see it getting lumped in with the social network considering any similarities are incredibly superficial at best. Catfish is a great documentery, and deserves to be seen by as many people as Finchers admittedly very impressive facebook film.

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  2. Thanks for your share! very impressive!

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