WATCHED & RATED: Catfish

I know I may be late on this one, but I have to share with you how ingenious Docu-film Catfish is. In the back end of 2010 Catfish was being mentioned here, there and everywhere, in press reviews to Film 2010 with Claudia Winkleman. Being dubbbed as the social network film to rival The Social Network. But as much as The Social Network and Catfish story is predominantly about relationships, Catfish focuses on the implications social networks such as Facebook have on the creation and maintaining of relationship. It is not a lecture on how to be safe on the net, instead it’s much more narrative driven and even has chilling suspense that has people questioning the validity of it.

The lead character is New Yorker Yaniv Schulman, a self assured easy going photographer, who granted his film director brother Ariel Schulman and best-friend Henry Joost permission to capture the relationship he built with 8 year old Abby. I know it sounds quite sinister, I was thinking where is this going when watching it. Abby and Yaniv relationship is built over him taking photographs and Abby painting and then selling them. They met over Facebook. This then encourages a relationship with other members of the family over the phone and through Facebook. The story on the surface is of potential love blossoming. Not to worry it’s not the 8 year old Abby.  It’s with her artist/dancer/vet assistant 18 year old step-sister Megan, who happens to be very attractive. We see Yaniv fall for the sweet soft voiced aspiring singer. But still their relationship is always maintained over Facebook, through texts and occasionally on the phone. So Yaniv has never met any of these friends in the physical. Well the story takes us down to a road of discovery and a whole lot more.

The magic of the film comes from maintaining an encapsulating strong narrative through a genre that is defined as documentary by Schulman and Joost. The action and resolution is laid out just as it would when putting pen to paper. But they maintain there is no fiction in the film they have made, just the truth.

Well it could be easily true, especially as it is made in America. At the same time Joost and the Schulmans’ could have steered the documentary in the right direction. This is easily one of 2010’s bests, and has an advantage over films made out the the Hollywood factories, that can lack true emotion within the story that keeps pulling the viewers along with them. For a film made on a shoestring budget of $30,000, the success of it was phenomenal. Netting $3m at the box office on limited release is a huge encouragement for budding film makers.

DS RATED: 8/10

 

Catfish 
Production Year: 2010
Countries: Rest of the World, USA
Cert (UK): 12A
Runtime: 94 mins
Directors: Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost 

 

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About Cheryl
Screenwriter and Director in the making. Inspired by music, style, literature and people. Learning to love life more everyday.

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