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starstarstarhalf a starWe All Live in Public

written by dmt5 on Jun 2nd, 2010read all my reviews

this review is from: We Live In Public (DVD)

Try to imagine your daily existence under constant surveillance. Now imagine that this also applied to everyone else in the world. Your life is viewable to anyone with an Internet connection, while at the same time you may peer into countless numbers of lives. What would happen to the laws of society, or even to one's own moral code, if the concept of privacy was simply to vanish? We Live in Public both answers these questions and poses new ones as to where exactly our society is headed.

The film mainly serves as a biopic of the life and times of Josh Harris, described by the film as "the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of.” Indeed, Harris does seem a visionary at times; his social experiment “Quiet” and its smaller-scale offshoot “We Live in Public” seem like little if not outright prototypes of reality television. The documentation of the former is where the film truly shines, with director Ondi Timoner providing a harrowing and occasionally terrifying glimpse into the basis of societal breakdown. The detachment from any privacy or intimacy (and at times from any humanity) that is shown by the individuals involved is striking in the way it is bluntly depicted; it also proves to be quite chilling when one realizes that perhaps modern-day society wouldn't be too far off from what's shown here, if given unlimited access to alcohol, women, and other people's lives.

The latter experiment, and indeed the latter half of the film, explores Harris' emotional detachment and gradual withdrawal from society at large. While not as striking as the “Quiet” section on a visceral level, it resonates deeply on an emotional one. Harris fancied himself a veritable puppet-master during “Quiet;” “We Live in Public” and its aftermath, on the other hand, shows him as a remarkably lonely individual. Is the general public truly that dissimilar? Any time we flip on “Jersey Shore” or “The Real World,” are we not feverishly peering into the lives of others simply in order to fill some void that exists within our own?

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We Live In Public

We Live In Public (DVD) dir by Ondi Timoner

IndiePix Price: $15.00

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