“Catfish” Trailer Sells Itself as Hitchcockian Documentary

"Catfish" kicked off some huge buzz and a bit of controversy upon its debut at Sundance this past winter. Now the film has a new trailer and begging you not to giveaway the film's ending.

The film, directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, follows the chain of events kicked of when Nev (Ariel's brother) is contacted by a young girl who wants to do a painting based on one of his photographs.

Here's the film's synopsis from Sundance:

Nev, a 24-year-old New York-based photographer, has no idea what he's in for when Abby, an eight-year-old girl from rural Michigan, contacts him on MySpace, seeking permission to paint one of his photographs. When he receives her remarkable painting, Nev begins a friendship and correspondence with Abby's family. But things really get interesting when he develops a cyber-romance with Abby's attractive older sister, Megan, a musician and model. Prompted by some startling revelations about Megan, Nev and his buddies embark on a road trip in search of the truth.

Pretty much everyone raved about the film, even one of the people at the Q&A following the film's Sundance premiere who questioned the film's integrity.

“This may be a minority opinion,” said one audience member according to Movieline. “I think you guys did a great job, but I don’t think it’s a documentary.”

Without getting into specifics and/or spoilers, there are concerns that the film crosses the line from documentary into fiction. To be clear, we haven't seen it yet, but there's certainly no shortage of documentary films that have pushed against, if not boldly crossed, that fact/fiction boundary.

One of our favorite films of 2010, "Exit Through the Gift Shop," the brilliant documentary about the street artist known as Banksy openly dares you to question its veracity -- is it really a documentary or Banksy's opus? Only Banksy knows and he's not telling.

There will no doubt be those pointy-headed commentarait who will bemoan this as a consequence of the YouTube age or some such nonsense, but the fact is this an issue that has plagued non-fiction writing since before the Bible. In the past decade alone, two of the most beloved memoirs -- "A Million Little Pieces," by James Frey, and "Running With Scissors," by Augusten Burroughs -- were plagued by accusations of fictionalization.

It's a shame that such works of art bring this kind of scrutiny upon themselves by claiming to be 100% truthful (whatever that means). A story well told will be a gripping entertaining whether it's fact or fiction, so why even invite there troubles?.

Either way, you can be sure we're looking forward to "Catfish."

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