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DFI Film Review: Social News, and The Social Network (2010)

Mar 22, 2011

Written by Reem Saleh, New Media, DFI

Social News, and The Social Network
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Genre: Drama
Year: 2010

When I first watched the ‘The Social Network’, I barely felt the two hour duration of the picture. It is the absorbing journey of the founders of Facebook, from the small room of a Harvard campus to what became an uprising beyond measures, shaping lives and, ultimately, maybe even history. You already know the story as you watch the film, but you will still be amazed at the twists and turns, the intense acting, and the Oscar winner script and musical score. Released while the Middle East is witnessing a boom in the effects of social networking in transferring news and information, ‘The Social Network’ chronicles an important moment that continues to reshape the world we live in.

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The Social Network - Trailer

المقطع الاعلاني لفيلم الشبكة الاجتماعية

In the early nineties, new terminology was introduced to the world of media. Named ‘manufacturing consent’, it was created by linguistics and political analyst Noam Chomsky, who is also a media specialist. The term appeared in his award-winning documentary ‘Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, 1992’. The film analyses and explains the manipulation of multimedia enterprises in filtering news for socio-economic and political reasons. Simply put, Chomsky helped show the world that we had been receiving subtly altered facts, delivered to us as ‘news’.

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With the presence of social networking, ‘manufacturing consent’ loses the stranglehold on news and information it once had. Thanks to the new, free exchange of ideas on Facebook and across the web, the world has entered a virtual room with no boundaries: a room where millions of people are interconnected. This new medium of social networking has literally brought the universe closer, as a sharing tool with the speed of light at your fingertips. You decide who to add on your friends list and you are fed with news you choose to read or share. You, yourself, can now become the next socio-political economical meteor.

You can be the source, the force and the voice, as chronicled recently across the news world, and here, by the Guardian

The latest events of the Middle East, including the fall of the regime in both Tunisia and Egypt, portray the importance of this new medium. One Facebook user was quoted as saying: “Revolutions existed way before Facebook”. This is true, but Facebook has definitely helped. The fact that so many regimes have recently tried to limit access to this site and others, is itself the best proof of its power, and importance. See a take in this here, at News from Africa

Today’s political life has had an unexpected shift, due to the social drive in networking as a remedy to the traditional soapbox media content and filtering. Facebook in particular helped circulate the facts, the sheets and the figures, and every home became an alert center on the ins and outs of high plateau maneuvers. Societies themselves have become more empowered to change their destinies.

One of the best conduits for this new media, for this new social empowerment, started with an idea a Harvard student had of creating a community through social media. This community soon grew beyond the gates of the campus, beyond the borders of its home country, and across the world.

In telling the tale of the birth of Facebook, David Fincher, director of ‘The Social Network’ took a milestone in the new media revolution, and turned it into a brilliant, fun, and entertaining movie. So far, the social world seems to agree. The film has won more than 16 awards, including 3 Oscars. It has been critically acclaimed. On the movie-review website Rotten Tomatoes , it has 96% ‘likes’ covering 267 reviews, with an average rating of 9/10!. One user remarked (and this reviewer agrees): “Impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances. The social network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest”.

‘The Social Network’ is a must see film. It is entertaining, funny, eloquent in its style, and inspiring.

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