Review: Catfish

**** (PG)

Director: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman.

Cast: Yaniv Schulman, Ariel Schulman, Henry Joost.

FOR a documentary maker, being at the right place at the right time is everything.

Just look at Lost In La Mancha. What began as an ordinary run-of-the-mill 'making of' about Terry Gilliam's attempt to film Don Quixote instead became an emotional and fascinating behind-the-scenes look at what happens when a movie falls to pieces in the early stages.

Catfish is similar in that it starts simply enough but spirals toward an unexpected conclusion, all because the film-makers were in the right place at the right time.

Yaniv Schulman is a photographer that shares a New York office with film-makers Henry and his brother Ariel, who decide to document Yaniv's relationship with a gifted child artist named Abby who has been doing paintings of Yaniv's photos.

Through email, Facebook and phone conversations, Yaniv connects with Abby and gets to know her mum Angela and older sister Megan - even developing something of a relationship with Megan.

To give more of the plot away would spoil the surprise that lays ahead in this intriguing journey. It's a shocking, amusing, sad and strange film that keeps you seeking answers along the way, even when you know or guess where it's headed.

There's been some conjecture about whether Catfish is a fake doco or the real deal. If it's a fake, it's made so naturally and realistically that the crew deserve even more credit for their efforts. However, Catfish certainly feels real enough to leave you with a stunned feeling at its finale and a nagging suspicion that the world is an even stranger place than you imagined.

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