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Karlovy Vary: Fourth Report
Posted on Friday July 10, 2009, 06:43 by Damon Wise
Just as I suspected (see my previous blog here), I did end up seeing We Live In Public again, and I now officially have the T-shirt (pictured)...
Slightly trimmed from the Sundance version, Ondi Timoner's vibrant study of dotcom visionary Josh Harris really has grown on me. The differences are very subtle, but I couldn't help feeling that the story was tighter and more focused, but that may have been because I now knew what to expect. To recap, Harris made a ton of money in the early dotcom boom and lost it all in the ensuing bust. His moment of glory, however, was that in 1999 he staged a mammoth underground art project that found 100 people living for free in a hotel with no privacy and a gun range downstairs. Busted by the police, who believed the event – called, ironically, Quiet, and only meant to last a month – was a millennium cult, like Heaven's Gate, Harris went on to instal cameras in his luxury loft apartment and made every intimate aspect of his life available to viewers via the internet. Needless to say, it ruined his relationship and ended in misery, as viewers either tuned out or turned on the bewildered Harris.
While Harris is almost certifiably wacko, and some viewers (as they did with Man On Wire) might find him too unsympathetic to enjoy the movie, We Live In Public makes the excellent point that what Harris was doing physically, we are now doing virtually, via Facebook and Twitter, and wonders if we should learn from his mistakes. It's significant that the film was recently viewed and approved by Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, who, if the stars align, will be involved in a special screening in New York early next year, complete with a recreation of the Quiet hotel (minus drugs and firearms, presumably). The film will be out before then, however. Ondi hopes to self-release in the States in the autumn – the US indie landscape is currently the bleakest it has ever been – and in the UK the film will be coming out October or November time (to be confirmed), courtesy of Dogwoof pictures. If you're lucky, Ondi will bring a batch of these supercool T-shirts, a bargain at 400 Czech crowns (about 12 quid).
See the trailer here...
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Posted on Saturday July 18, 2009, 12:36
Got a strong feeling of Deja Vu when I saw that t-shirt, I thought it was bringing up your old blogs. I guess they ship these films around to loads of Festivals. :p
Does seeing the same film, in a different city, with a different audience alter the experience?
Posted on Sunday July 19, 2009, 16:53
It's always worth seeing how a film plays, especially to see how an overseas audience reacts. In the case of We Live In Public, I didn't realise it had been trimmed: the new version is 3 minutes shorter, and I think all the better for it, even though it doesn't sound very much in principle. But, yes, it can seem a lot like a conveyor belt: Humpday is a good example of a film that started in Sundance and has been popping up at practically every festival since...