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Short Film 'Noah' Tells Tale of Heartbreak Completely on Computer Screen

Noah MovieIn the past decade, the web has gone from a place where it was possible to download free .mp3s, to a place where you could list your top friends, to a completely immersive experience, where entire human dramas are played out on a daily basis. With Twitter now a global soapbox and Instant Messaging and Facebook replacing phone calls and even real life relationships, the internet is rife with drama. And now an innovative Canadian short film, Noah, captures the drama of human connection (as lived online, without once leaving the computer screen) in 17 minutes. Click below to learn more and watch (and be sure to close all your other tabs!)

Noah tells the story of a boy, a girl, a Facebook account, and the new vistas of communication we are living with every day. Created by Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, the film recently debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The setup for the story is as old as love stories: a boy and girl ponder their imminent separation (going away to college), but everything we see is mediated through the boy’s computer screen — the Skype window he uses to chat with his girlfriend, the Facebook chats he has with friends, even a brief dalliance with Chatroulette can all be considered to be “sets” the filmmakers used to make their movie.

The film addresses an all-too common issue in relationships these days, i.e. when your significant other knows your social media/email password, things can get out of hand, rather quickly. Of the plot, the less said, the better, suffice it to say that it makes Chatroulette a little poignant, which is a feat in and of itself.

(WARNING: The film is NSFW, featuring some scenes set on Chatroulette with brief full frontal male nudity, because, well, it’s Chatroulette.)

We never leave the screen, and never have to. The characters are both young (according to their fictitious Facebook profiles, born in 1993, which, I am old, you guys) and the idea of interacting entirely online is even less jarring for them than it was for people of my generation, only a few years older.

But in a world where your relationship status means everything, and a click of a mouse can’t be taken back, the young directors manage to wring suspense and pathos out of what might at first glance seem like a one-note idea. They use traditional narrative, it’s just that the framing devices are completely digital. No one interacts face to face, and we learn of all developments through text chats, video windows, iTunes playlists and relationship statuses.

Noah is definitely worth a watch, if only because it’s fascinating to see how imaginative these filmmakers are in their ability to set a dramatically digital stage from what is typically perceived as the cold and impersonal nature of cyberspace.

What do you think of the idea of a film set in cyberspace? How do you think new social media platforms will affect film, not just in the ways it is distributed/marketed/ funded etc. but in a narrative sense?

[via Co.Create]


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Description image 19 COMMENTS

  • Brilliant!

  • That was terrific.

  • Very intriguing concept and well executed. I do think “Noah” is a little ridiculously impulsive and over-reactive to be believable, but at the same time, we hear about these sorts of online drama all the time.

    You might want to check your math though – birth dates in 1993 would mean they are 19 or 20, not 17. You’re even older than you thought :)

  • Jason Dunphy on 09.13.13 @ 1:07AM

    My girlfriend showed me this 2 days ago. I didn’t want to watch it when she told me what it was, though I was interested to see how they would pull off 17 minutes on a computer screen and make it interesting. I love it though. I thought the performances were very realistic too, especially from the main characters.

  • Fantastic idea and well executed. I hoped for a hook at the end which didn’t really come, so in terms of storyline it disappointed in the end, but as an idea, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • *SPOILERS* yeah and all that gay thing at the end…was pretty obvious since Dylan comes into screen

  • 2013 – 1993 = 17???

    Other than that, awesome concept and beautifully executed.

  • >in a world where your relationship status means everything
    and intelligent relationships mean nothing

  • Sort of a mix between “You Suck at Photoshop” (don’t know it? Check it out! One of the most hilarious pieces of comedy around, including a lot of mediocre TV sitcoms: and some other found footage shorts. I like how comparatively natural the actors are, which is something that bothered me especially when considering mentioned shorts and found footage-films like “Chronicle”, “Cloverfield” or “The Bay” which did not ALL have bad acting per se, they just had this thin but noticable layer of ‘acting’ all over it that is fine whith features but troublesome when you try to emulate reality in your narrative like FF-films extensively do. Otherwise it brang some all too well known moments of my (digital) life back to my mind which was very disarming in terms of suspension of disbelief. Just worked really well, but then again, that’s an advantage that makes people choose this kind of narrative in the first place: with all the shortcomings it also has.

  • Brilliant concept and execution. Too bad the girl is just a shallow racist, and the titular character is a complete douchebag. Oh, high school…

  • Imagine trying to show that film to someone 20 – 30 years ago, they wouldn’t have been able to comprehend it. It’s amazing how much technology has infiltrated our lives and even our story telling, that tracking a high school kid’s computer desktop can be an emotionally engaging film. Brilliant work, loved it!

  • Well done, but what a sick society!

  • Brilliant idea and execution.
    I could’ve done without the multiple wiener show.

  • The video is private now. :( Anywhere else we can watch it?