RWM2013 Review: InRealLife (2013)
Director Beeban Kidron’s new documentary, InRealLife, is one of those films that poses more questions than answers. She interviews a variety of teenagers experiencing the extreme effects of growing up in and living an online digital life. Stories of young porn, gaming and phone addicts, of cyberbullying, of disengagement with the real world. Their stories are alarming, sad, worrying. But Kidron’s focus seems to be on extreme cases, which prevents a more nuanced examination of complex emerging social problems.
Despite this, Kidron does raise some excellent questions overall about the role of technology in our lives, and the corporate interests that control it. Some of the most interesting (and frightening) parts of this film were the brief glimpses into the overall structure of the Internet – where the cables are located, vast buildings of servers, and the strategies being employed by commercial interests to gather data and measure and manipulate online behaviours.
Should we be paying more attention to the corporate interests that control the digital world? No question about it. Should we be worried about teenagers and their increasingly online lives? Without a doubt. But Kidron’s InRealLife only starts the conversation, announces the problem, rather than providing other sides of the argument. It felt more alarmist and doom-laden than necessary, and left me wanting a more in depth approach. But perhaps that is the film’s function – a mechanism to start the discussion – and in that, it does serve its purpose.
InRealLife is the closing night gala screening of the Rendezvous with Madness film festival on Saturday, November 16 at 7:30pm at Workman Arts Theatre.
Gallery of Images for InRealLife