The Real Invention of Facebook: Catfish
May 4, 2011 § 2 Comments
True Stories: Catfish – 10.00pm, More 4, Tuesday 3rd May 2011
Dir: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost
It’s difficult to explain the way this film makes you feel – shocked, thrilled, excited, scared, embarrassed, deeply disturbed – to name but a few. But definitely fascinated and glued from start to finish. I don’t want to spoil the film for anyone who may not have seen it – and I recommend that you see it if you haven’t so far – but it’s a documentary concerning the long-distance relationship, through Facebook, text message, instant messenger and phone calls, between photographer Yaniv (or Niv for short) Schulman and 8 year old painter/prodigy Abby and her family. The relationship begins when Niv is sent a painting Abby has made of one of his dance photographs, which she had seen in a magazine.
Spoiler alert! If you have not seen this movie ignore the following paragraph and move on to the next – I think you would enjoy the film much more if you didn’t know much more about it. Okay, it may not be a direct spoiler, but whilst watching the film I was thinking about ‘The Night Listener’ and I had that same, slightly freaked-out feeling of dread that I had with that story. I was dying to know the truth, and worried how sinister it would be. At times I was cringing as it began to unfold. I still don’t really know how to feel about the woman concerned – I feel pity in a way and embarrassment at the same time.
The authenticity of Catfish has been questioned, i.e. that parts of the documentary were staged or re-enacted to tell the story. I personally feel that it carries a really important message about technology and relationships and is as important, if not more so, than ‘The Social Network’. I would even say that it is good enough to be considered a documentary thriller. Whether or not the story itself is genuine, is not important (ironically), because the final result is mesmerizing and disturbing, above all very watchable, and will stay with you long after you have seen it.