On the heels of CATFISH and I’M NOT THERE comes Vikram Gandhi’s KUMARÉ, the SXSW Audience Award winner that should be showing up in theatres sometime this Spring. The director calls it “compassionate rule-breaking,” and his exploration of spirituality definitely breaks the rule of disclosure. A dozen or so people are hoodwinked into becoming spiritual disciples of someone they believe to be an Indian guru, but who’s really just a 30-something Columbia grad in India making his first film – that, and he happens to be named Gandhi.
In the last year since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival’s Spotlight section, filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman have spent some of their time basking in the overwhelmingly positive reaction to CATFISH, but most of their time defending its veracity. CATFISH documents the relationship between Schulman’s brother Nev and Megan, a girl he…
I saw the nonfiction film CATFISH last week and it was the first time in a good long while that when the lights came up, I looked around … and I said out loud, “I loved it.”
Cinema, cinema, cinema. AO Scott said the movie looks like crap and is ethically suspect, and guess what? He’s wrong. New York Magazine said it’s a scam and guess what? Who cares! It’s an incredibly compelling story, real or imagined. And isn’t that the point? Our real and our imagined selves, due to media saturation, are getting closer and closer together; they’re overlapping, so that lives are part performance, part “time off” (that’s the “real”). We perform for Facebook; we perform because someone in the room just turned on a video camera. We perform. That’s not news; we humans have been doing this forever. It’s simply more prominent now that social networking provides the 24 hour stage. THAT’s the point, not where the film falls on the scale of “real.” But I digress.
Some members of an older, disapproving generation have dubbed the young, tech-savvy, internet-reliant, social network-loving population ‘The Facebook Generation’. But if CATFISH teaches us anything it’s that the phenomenon of virtual relationships can’t be isolated to any one age group; it’s a multi-generation sensation. In fact, Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is the 65+ club, with waves of grandmas, grandpas and retirees joining up to stay in touch.