Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
When people first heard of a Facebook movie, this is the kind of thing they imagined instead of David Fincher's award-friendly drama. But even they couldn't have expected such an unsettling and poignant piece of cinema.
Catfish is ostensibly a documentary following photographer Nev, who makes friends with Abby, a nine year old girl who likes painting his pictures. He's in New York, she's in Michigan, but they start chatting online instantly. Soon enough the whole family's on Facebook, friendlng each other and tagging their pictures. It's a weird little incestuous social network that fascinates Nev's film-making friends.
So they start on the ambitious trek across America to meet their virtual penpals - a quick shot of Google Earth here, a jaunt down Google Street view there, Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's film is a fully online experience (it's worth noting that it's getting a simultaneous on-demand release alongside its cinema screenings). But while watching a grown man make friends with a young girl might seem awkward, Catfish is disturbing for a completely different reason.
Following its surprisingly dramatic plot points, Joost and Schulman continue to capture the sad truth behind its characters' motivations. It's an insight into what happens when life collides with digital reality; a message more pertinent than Tron: Legacy, this instantly grabs you and smacks you repeatedly over the face with a keyboard until you feel sorry for all concerned. Simply wonderful.
Whether its real or not, Catfish is an incredible little documentary. The most fun you can have sitting in a darkened room watching someone else make friends on the Internet.
- ariel schulman
- henry joost
- nev schulman