Posted by Kob Monney
If this is your documentary, you’re doing a bad job
Is it true? Did this really happen? You’ll be asking those questions during an after you’ve watched Catfish, a film that merits debate about how social networks operate. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s authentic or not, to make the case for any inaccuracies would be missing the point that the film is trying to convey.
The documentary explores the notion of identity in the 21st century, a time where it’s easier than ever to be fooled. is this person a friend or someone you knew at some point in your life? What does ‘friend’ on social network really mean? Do we really know anything about them apart from the image they wish to project to the world and does that profile offer any real insight into who they are?
And that’s what lies at the heart of Catfish, an absorbing, curious and at times remarkable film. To say anymore would incur spoilers, this is a film where it’s best to go in cold.
What lies at the heart of Catfish is a community, a social community that is thriving, full of people who want to interact with each other and Facebook acts as a gateway . However how can we be sure that these people, who could just as easily being lying to us (especially if we’ve never met them before), are the kind of people we’d like to have some form of relationship with? The documentary explores the lengths people will use social networks to escape from their lives and create a new personality, a new look and a new body in order to be accepted by anyone who may find that ‘person’ appealing.
After the first twenty minutes or so you expect the film to be about relationships and how they could be made on a social network, but the film transform into something else entirely. The more clues we find, the more mystique that’s created, the more we are as a viewer to seek the answers.
The answer is a shocking and little moving one. There is both good and the bad about social networks and for one character in this documentary it was an attempt to live life in a way they hadn’t been able to. However what came from that exaggeration was deception. Even if we travel into a virtual world to fantasize, it is nonetheless, a fantasy. We’ll never be that person that we project.
Social networks have the ability to make us insecure about ourselves. Seeing where they’ve been and what they’ve done can make us envious, but it also offers a release from life and Catfish captures that truth in all its sad glory.