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‘Catfish’ Comes to Park City for the Sundance Film Festival

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A still from the Sundance Film Festival documentary ‘Catfish.’

Zan McQuade

At the very end of the Q&A for the fantastic Catfish, co-director Henry Joost implored the audience: “Refrain from giving away too much.” He explained that they wanted those who hadn’t yet seen the film to have the same experience we’d just had, the same experiences that the filmmakers had had in making the film.

It’s difficult to write about experiencing a film that you’ve been instructed not to write too much about. And honestly, I’m totally willing to follow instructions in this case. Catfish, in the end, is all about the experience, and to discuss it too much would ruin that experience for you, should you ever have the chance to see it.

Frankly, it’s totally keeping me on my toes.

So how do you discuss the undiscussable? I could spend an entire post telling you how much I loved this documentary. How it was hilarious and sad and so oddly honest. How later that night, my mind full of a million different things from the long day, I was still coming back to it, again and again, the entire film replaying in my head, and on remembering certain scenes, my hand would go to my mouth and I’d say “wow.” Again and again. I’m a total Catfish fangirl.

This much I can tell you: It’s about reality, and the stories we construct out of life, out of our own lives and the lives of others. It’s a documentary about documentation. (How oblique can I get?)

The documentary was introduced by the directors as a film about our need for connection. At the end of the film, we were all connected by a common experience with the rest of the audience and with the filmmakers. On my way into the Filmmaker’s Lodge today to steal some Wi-Fi and type up this post, I saw Catfish co-director Ariel Schulman heading out onto the street, and a little bit too late—my reaction time dulled by lack of sleep and a heavy pub lunch—I realized I wanted to grab him by the arm and tell him how much I loved his film.

So let this post do the trick. Because I honestly don’t know how else to discuss the undiscussable feeling, other to say that the directors completely succeeded in making that connection with me.


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