MIFF review 2010: Catfish

6 Aug

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They didn’t fool me. They just told me stuff I didn’t care to question”

I didn’t expect to like Catfish. I certainly didn’t expect to admire it so vigourously. It’s a documentary that starts with a cute premise. After Yaniv, a handsome New York hipster, has a photo of his published in the new York times he receives a paintings reproduction from Abby, a young girl in Michigan. An unorthodox correspondence begins: he emails photos to her, she sends him back a painting. Soon Yaniv makes contact with Abby’s whole family, and he is particularly drawn to her older sister, Megan. With 2 friends in tow, the whole process of virtual connection and a growing infatuation, is documented with care and intimacy.

The thrilling final half follows the group as they make the massive journey from NY to Michigan. The difficult confrontation is handled with a care and dignity we rarely see in tabloid accounts of the dangers of the Internet and anonymity. It’s a documentary with a lot of heart, and the sensitivity shown by the 3 boys, while full of preppy bravado, is very endearing

Still, A big question mark hangs over Catfish. It’s just too good; too perfect. Is it all real? is it all fake? If it’s the former Yaniv and his entourage hit doco gold , and they executed it marvellously. If it’s the latter, it’s still a brilliantly entertaining and insightful synthesis of some pertinent subject matter.

****1/2

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