Streaming Review: R U There (2010)

101108212122d2f0b3071e38de Streaming Review:  R U There (2010)

R U There is a film shot in Taiwan by Dutch director David Verbeek. It is about a pro-gamer from Belgium named Jitze who seeks out a masseuse after experiencing shoulder pain most likely caused by playing video games for extended periods in competition. He finds relief in Min-Min, a willowy Taiwanese girl whose ultimate goal seems to be just getting this guy to relax.

The massage angle sets the film up for some great sexual tension as Jitze is obviously interested in a little more than a deep tissue yet Min-Min seems to stay just out of reach. They are able to connect more intimately, however, through the virtual community known as Second Life. Here is a description of the service from Second Life’s Website: “In Second Life, there’s always someone to talk to, dance with, learn from or perhaps even love. You can meet people all over the world without ever leaving your home. And here, there’s no jet lag and the clubs are always open.”

Basically the idea is that you can do things in Second Life that perhaps you can’t (or won’t) do in the real world like fly through the air as depicted in this pic of the day from 11/05:

 Streaming Review:  R U There (2010)

The film juxtaposes real life disconnection against the freedom and uninhibited exploration of intimacy and desire in this virtual world’s environment. Their avatars change as the characters become more connected on the outside and the inside.  The ending is highly symbolic and might come off as random or pointless to a less thoughtful viewer. But while the film’s pace might offend those accustomed to a more frenetic atmosphere, the cinematography is gorgeous and the quiet, understated acting fits in so well with the lovely Taiwanese landscape.

RUThere2010Poster Streaming Review:  R U There (2010)

This is Verbeek’s second film produced since graduating from the Amsterdam Film Academy in 2005. The other is a documentary called Shanghai Trance about the younger generations of Chinese who are growing up in a more westernized and technologically advanced culture than their elders.

Although R U There  was an entry in the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival, the film has gotten some mixed reviews. I, personally, enjoyed it. It makes a great statement about dating in the 21st century and how the more technologically advanced we become as a society, the more it really starts to take over our lives. But the question is:  is it necessarily a bad thing?   Rating: B+

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