Nuggets of Catfish

So we watched the movie – docu/mocku mentary – CATFISH last night.

For those of you who haven’t seen it, it’s about a photographer in NY who begins a long-distance friendship with an 8 year-old girl who has turned one of his photographs into a painting. From there he develops a friendship with the girl’s mother, and then a romance with the girl’s older sister. And eventually it (SPOILER ALERT) all falls apart. In the end it turns out the little girl never painted anything, the older sister doesn’t exist, and everyone – including two cell phone accounts and 15 facebook accounts – was the 40 year-old mother…and there is a dramatic confrontation/confession on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Meanwhile, the photographer’s filmmaker brother and friend are documenting the entire thing.

There has apparently been a big debate over whether the whole story was real or fake, so the hubby and I did a little research on the interwebs and among other things found that Zach Galifianakis believes it to be fake (oh WELL then!)

So we watched the interview with the filmmakers in the bonus features section of the DVD – and it was pretty obvious to us that they had fudged the veracity of the story pretty hugely, but nevertheless told an entertaining tale.

For me, what tore it was this: the mastermind’s husband, portrayed as a somewhat simple dupe, comes out with a catfish story – totally spontaneously – that captures the essence of the whole story in one gorgeous nugget. Apparently when cod was shipped alive to China in vats on board a ship, when it arrived, the flesh would be mushy. But when they popped a catfish in the tank with them – they arrived in perfect condition. He went on to describe a “catfish person” as someone who, good or bad, keeps our juices flowing and keeps us on our toes.

To me, storytelling turns on that nugget – and the grace with which we introduce it in our prose, is EVERYTHING.


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