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SIFF 2009, Day 4

May 25, 2009

We Live in Public (2009) Dir. Ondi Timoner

From Blogger


We Live in Public began over a decade ago as a document of doc-com entrepreneur Josh Harris' experiment with filming the most intimate activities of life and putting it out on the internet. In the 1990s, during the dot-com boom when he, along with many others, had become rich and he was constantly experimenting with creating and using the internet in new and innovative ways. He created a bunker in New York city that was completely wired. There were cameras everywhere inside the bunker and he invited people to live there where everything was free, except for one thing, the video footage. He would own that.

Well, the experiment was part art project, a bit social experiment, and completely fascinating. But We Live in Public doesn't end with the police raid of Josh Harris's bunker. Instead it explores his life, his relationships and the impact of technology on the emotional lives of everyone. We Live in Public is about what I'm doing right now. Putting my ideas out on the internet for all to see and how that act has consequences and changes my life. And this is something that I'd never really thought about. I had considered the loss of privacy that can result from Facebook, My Space, Live Journal, etc. And try to at least by aware of what I launch into this superhighway, knowing full well that this is a public place, but I had never considered that this act has an impact on my life off-line. And I certainly had never thought about what the popularity of Facebook says human nature.

See this movie. I was blown away by the immense complexity of what could have been a simple documentary on another dot-com millionaire's rise and fall, but exploded into a wonderfully thorough analysis of how technology changes who we are. It is only playing at festivals, but considering the reception it is receiving, I'm hopeful that it will be picked up for distribution.

http://www.weliveinpublicthemovie.com/

Terribly Happy (2008), Dir. Henrik Ruben Genz

Two years ago, the SIFF theme was Danish Cinema. I pretty much ignored it and went about my normal viewing habits of whatever appealed, gravitating toward Asian cinema. But I did take in one film from Denmark, Adam's Apples, which is among the funniest black comedies I've ever seen. Since then, I take notice of any film from Denmark and they do fantastic black comedies, and Terribly Happy is no exception.

Although, I wouldn't categorize Terribly Happy as black comedy. Noir horror, suspense that just happens to be very darkly comedic is more like it. Police officer Robert Hansen is transferred to a small town to act as their marshal. Quickly, he discovers that he will not last long in this small village if he insists on doing things by the book. The townsfolk have their own way of doing things and don't much appreciate the interference of outsiders, who tend to disappear. Terribly Happy often reminded me of Blood Simple, although only in tone. This was a suspenseful and curious film that was often quite funny. Someday, I'll have to see if Henrik Ruben Genz's other films are as interesting as this one.



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