A Perfect Fake (Canada, 2004, Director: Marc De Guerre, 57 minutes): Ovid’s myth of Pygmalion forms the basis for this exploration of how technology is helping us design more and more convincing representations of human beings. Whether it’s CG movies, games, pornography, or latex “love dolls”, people (mostly men) are looking for other people (mostly women) that they can completely control. This is especially widespread in Japanese culture, where digital “characters” have become like pets or companions for many people, and not just children. One commentator states that since modern life is so unpredictable and communication so difficult, people are looking for companions who don’t change, who give them comfort. De Guerre enlists a number of academics to muse on the relationship between our desires and the implications of having a non-human representation to help us fulfill them.
We meet a few Japanese men who have taken things to an extreme, with one man showing off his collection of over forty love dolls in an apartment he rents especially for them. A few people found some of this stuff disturbing and a number of them walked out, but I think these extreme cases are only heralding the way our society may be headed. As dolls and computer software become more sophisticated, how many people will leave behind any attempt at human interaction whatsoever? It’s a bit creepy to consider, and the film conveyed that feeling very effectively.