Thursday, August 27, 2009

We Live in Public

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Boom and Bust Bio-Pic Revisits the Career of Millionaire

Josh Harris arrived in New York City in 1984 with only $900 in his pocket, but harboring a hunch that the World Wide Web was about to explode. Part visionary, part businessman. Josh was a pioneer who not only saw the potential of the internet, but figured out how to cash in on it during the ensuing boom years.
First, he founded Jupiter Networks, a start-up which, among other things, catered to a clientele interested in sex chat rooms. He made $80 million when he took that company public, and subsequently found himself the subject of numerous magazine and TV news reports about the new generation of young media moguls dubbed the Kids.
Unfortunately, the windfall burned a hole in Josh’s pocket, as he continued
to launch venture after venture, each more outrageous than the last, such as, the first internet-based television network. Pseudo was an interactive cable network with multiple channels which sponsored events like aphrodisiac parties where Viagra was distributed to imbibers.
A shameless showman spouting the slogan “Do what you want. No restrictions,” he quickly became known as “the Andy Warhol of web TV.” Josh personified his “anything goes” philosophy, having the temerity to threaten to put CBS out of business while he was being interviewed on 60 Minutes.
His next big project Quietly Live in Public, featured an underground society populated by a hundred pod people living collectively without any privacy. Their every waking (and sleeping) moment was broadcast live to the outside world. However, that ill-executed experiment ended after merely thirty days when the NYPD raided the place based on well-founded reports of bizarre goings-on such as gunfire and Fascistic interrogations.
Josh’s next treat for the virtual voyeur involved just him and his girlfriend, Tanya Corrin. They outfitted their bunker with 32 video cameras equipped with night vision lenses and with 72 highly-sensitive microphones for a self-explanatory TV show called “We Live in Public.” But Tanya tired of feeling like a porn star and moved out after six months of overexposure.
By the time the bust finally arrived in 2000, Josh had lost not only Tanya but his sanity and most of his money. All of the above is vividly recounted in We Live in Public, a cautionary documentary about the dire prospects of a culture where people feel most validated by a television camera.
The internet indicted as a mind control tool subtly turning humanity into exhibitionistic automatons.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 89 minutes
Studio: Interloper Films

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