The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Someone is fishing in the pond – the question is who

with 12 comments

So who do you think I am?

On the about page on my blog I present myself as a 44 year old Swedish woman, a mother of two, someone who loves mountains and nourishes an old friendship for science fiction and fantasy.

But can you hold this for true? How do you know that this body exists at all and that I’m not I’m not just a product of the imagination by a 14 year old boy from Nebraska or a 75 year old woman from India who loves to do a bit of role playing?

Unless you’re a member of the Swedish blogger’s network Filmspanarna, which meets at a pub in Stockholm once a month, you don’t know. You can listen to your gut feeling: does this writing voice sound solid and honest? But in the end, it’s just a guess.

On the other hand: how much does it matter? Would it make a big difference if I was someone else than I’ve claimed to be, if my thoughts and ideas would remain the same?

People have had reasons to think about questions like this long before internet was invented. You don’t need a Facebook page to pretend that you’re someone else. But it has certainly become easier. Online communication knows no borders, but fact-checking becomes more complicated and takes more effort the further away from someone you are.

I recently watched the documentary Catfish, which explores those themes in a wonderful way. I don’t want to give away too much of it. There are a couple of nice twists in it and it’s the kind of film that gets more enjoyable the less you know about it on beforehand.

But I’ll say as much as that the base story is about an online friendship between a few young filmmakers and a family they’ve met over Facebook. They don’t mention to the family that they’re making a documentary, but as it turns out, the family isn’t telling the entire truth about themselves either.

When online identities are up for discussion, it’s usually to warn people, especially young girls, who risk becoming victims to older men who are preying at them and telling them lies to get them wherever they want to. But Catfish is nothing like this. When it was over I thought to myself that I had seen some fishing going on, but I wasn’t so sure who was the cat and who was the fish. Was there even a victim in the first place?

Maybe you don’t believe in the existence of this 44 year old blogger. So be it. But I hope you believe me when I give this film a strong recommendation. It’s thrilling, thought provoking, funny and heartwarming. Judging from the reviews that the directors of the film have had for their most recent work, Paranormal Activity 4, it seems as if the documentary genre is a better way to go for them.

Catfish (Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman, US, 2010) My rating: 4/5

Written by Jessica

November 7, 2012 at 1:00 am

Posted in Catfish

12 Responses

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  1. I think 4/5 is what I rated this and that’s higher than either of their Paranormal Activity films, but as effective as the film is, I can’t get over its label as a Documentary. I just don’t buy it as a real story so the degree to which it is sold as such makes me resist it, even though it is a well told (in my view) fiction.


    November 7, 2012 at 1:51 am

    • Hm… Well I reckon it’s in the same grey area as Exit Through the Gift Shop. It’s a “sort of documentary”. You can’t be entirely sure of if it is what it appears to be. I’m more prone to call it documentary than fiction though.


      November 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm

  2. Well, at least I know you are a woman since you appeared on the LAMBcast (or did you hire someone else ;)). Although I heard quite a bit about this movie I never thought it would be something I’d enjoy watching.


    November 7, 2012 at 8:49 am

    • Well I didn’t know that much about it and I was happily surprised. I really dug it. No guarantees of course.

      It is true that I’ve been om LAMBcast, but again that too can be manipulated. Everything can… Not that I would of course. 🙂


      November 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm

  3. From your podcasts I know you have a Scaninavian accent – I have gotten much better at recognising it the last few years 🙂 . Also, definitely a subtle difference from the standard sort of Danish accent, thought here is nothing one can point to precisely.

    I find online identity fascinating though, partly due to personal circumstances given my wife and I first got to know each other through our identities in EVE Online.


    November 7, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    • Yes, there’s definitely something intriguing about online personalities. In media they often picture it as something bad and dangerous. what’s so wonderful about this film is that it’s much more nuanced.

      Re: my accent, well at least I hope I’m not on the level of the Swedish chef.


      November 8, 2012 at 7:31 am

  4. Nice write-up Jessica. It was an intriguing little film but as much as there was a hoax going on I also couldn’t outrule the film being a bit of a hoax as well. Some things just seemed to happen to conveniently. Still, it was all very well structured regardless of whether it was entirely true or not.

    Mark Walker

    November 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

    • Thanks Mark! Well, I couldn’t rule that out complely either, but just as in the case of Exit Throgh the Gift Shop – does it really matter? It’s enjoyable and thoughtprovoking anyway.


      November 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      • I suppose that’s just it. It doesn’t really matter and this film done a great job of keepIng you involved. I preferred Exit Through The Gift Shop I think though.

        Mark Walker

        November 9, 2012 at 9:15 pm

        • Oh yes, that one has the edge over this. Still a good view.


          November 11, 2012 at 10:18 pm

  5. Great post. I loved Catfish and I don’t really care if it was staged or not. It was riveting. Watching the film knowing next to nothing about it helped a lot.


    November 11, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    • Thanks! Yes, I was lucky to know nothing about it as I watched it and I definitely think that adds to the experience. So I try not to reveal too much either.


      November 11, 2012 at 10:21 pm

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