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The Social Dilemma: A Wake Up Call For All The Social Media Addicts

We've seen many documentaries in the past that are trying to raise concern about social media networks, but nothing like The Social Dilemma. There are many different thoughts about this movie/documentary from people.

Some say that it is a bit too much, and they see social media networks in a different way, while others say that the potential threat from social media networks presents an imminent danger.

This documentary is directed by Jeff Orlowski, which is famous for giving us similarly terrifying documentaries like Chasing Ice and Chasing Coral.

The Social Dilemma raises questions about social media networks and how they are controlling our behavior. In other words, 'social dilemma' implies that our brains are manipulated and even rewired by algorithms that are designed to get our attention at all costs.

It is made in a way that you would feel that we are on the verge of nuclear war, which raises the question, are social media networks that dangerous?

We've seen other documentaries that ask the same question like Screened Out and The Great Hack, but The Social Dilemma has one great advantage.

While other documentaries have impressive experts that explain the situation, The Social Dilemma features experts who got us in this position. We can see executives from Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook responsible for taking social media to this place.

As the film unfolds, we see people talking about stories that they feel uncomfortable and embarrassed by doing things to get people's attention in the past.

In other words, they are confessing and apologizing for the events we are witnessing every day. For example, we have Justin Rosenstein, who is the inventor of Facebook's most ubiquitous feature, the "like" button. At that time, they intended to spread positivity, and they didn't know that a "like" button could become a problem.

However, the problem becomes bigger when people are judged based on social media likes. You might be considered cool or a loser based on the number of likes you have.

This can cause more serious problems like anxiety, depression, self-harm, and even suicide attempts, especially by the younger population.

So, even though these experts assure us that their intentions were good, we still have a problem that we need to address.

In the film, we can see another confession from Facebook’s head of "monetization" who is responsible for making an algorithm that is hard to resist, and it is designed to seduce people to come to the network.

Even though The Social Dilemma explains facts along the way, the biggest mistake in the movie was the poorly-conceived dramatic enhancements of some of the perils of social media networks.

This documentary is made in a great way featuring impressive animation that shows us how algorithms work. It is truly scary.

Aside from all the executives that are telling their story, we have a background story that of a couple of families explaining how social media separates people.

Yes, this documentary has many bold calls, and you may think that they are over-exaggerating the situation with social media, but it is nice to see documentaries spreading awareness based on facts. It's hard to predict what the future will bring to us, but since algorithms are getting smarter and smarter on their own, the future based on this documentary seems inevitable.

If you are a fan of documentaries about social media or you are a tech fan, you should definitely consider watching The Social Dilemma. This documentary will definitely change how you look at all social media platforms.

So, the next time you open your phone and see an ad for a wrestling-related product, you'll know how the algorithm predicted your interest in the best MMA odds, for example.

They might have gone over the top with some claims about the future, but at this point, anyone can be right, since nobody can predict the outcome from this technology advancement.

Short Film Review: Saloon

Saloon is a dark western actioner from writer-director Dayakar Padayachee, produced by Simon Ratcliffe and Pelisha Somiah. Starring Kwenzo Ngcobo as a tough hitman, the short film explores one wild night as he follows up a bit of business with a drink at a nearby saloon. Five Fingers for Marseilles recently captured the world's imagination with an African western playing out against the picturesque Lady Grey in the Eastern Cape. Taking a similar edge and multi-cultural approach, Saloon is a more contemporary take on the Wild West, shot in Zulu against a dystopian futuristic South Africa.

Saloon Short Film

The short film is not short on style, using neon lights and plenty of swagger to capture a dark, moody back alley and sleazy bar scenario. Westerns are famous for their tense bar scenes and stand-offs, which is where Saloon takes aim, unpacking a lone gunslinger's mysterious and sacred mission. Ngcobo grapples with a character loosely modeled on the likes of Keanu Reeves and Clint Eastwood, operating with a sly, smooth and devil-may-care demeanor. Entering a dangerous situation with enemies around him, he stumbles onto his next hit only to draw his weapon and summon up a blaze of enemies.

Being a short film, Saloon does feel like an excerpt from a larger work. The story airdrops audiences in the deep end, feeding bits of the character's intention through his whirlwind action, cold attitude and destiny-orientated dialogue. Being geared around action there isn't all that much time for exposition and unfortunately the closing credits roll just as the film gets started. The rock 'n roll soundtrack energises things as the mood and lashings of style compel and intrigue. It's difficult to convey character in such a short space of time, which is why Saloon is fleeting.

Saloon Short Film

The set up works as it ends on an ellipsis but this Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid style climax is equally anti-climactic given the film's short lifespan. While gritty and dripping in mood and style, it's also insubstantial and momentary. Saloon shows great promise, building a world, displaying panache and carrying a consistent tone. As a taster it leaves you wanting more but doesn't feel like a complete expression of its potent story and brooding characters.

Celebrate Heritage Day with a Movie Night Festival

The next Bingeing with Spling watch party and movie night festival is happening tomorrow evening on Heritage Day, 24 September. Being South African, Spling is making it possible for people to celebrate their arts, culture and rich diversity from the comfort of their couch. Get your braai on, grab some popcorn, put drinks on ice and remember to charge your phone so that you can tweet along, track the conversation or join our WhatsApp chat room group.

The main feature is Beyond the River, based on the true story of unlikely dusi canoe marathon team, Piers Cruickshanks and Siseko Ntondini.

"Beyond the River is a stirring uniquely South African guts and glory underdog sports drama. It’s emotionally taut as we witness two men trying to dig themselves out of a rut through teamwork and perseverance. They're constantly breaking barriers, overcoming prejudices and inspiring others around them with the symbol of the river adding layers of meaning. It makes for compelling viewing to see the everyday battles playing out against the background of a much grander narrative for South Africa's future." ~ Stephen Aspeling, SPL!NG

The curtain-raiser is The Letter Reader, a SAFTA award-winning short directed by Sibusiso Khuzwayo about a Joburg boy who travels to the Drakensburg where he reads letters to rural villagers.

Both South African films are streaming on Showmax, where we're staging this month's watch party. Stay tuned to our socials and get ready to hit play at 7pm (GMT+2) for The Letter Reader and at 8pm (GMT+2) for Beyond the River.

Our special guest is Beyond the River's Lemogang Tsipa, a South African actor who's best known for Back of the Moon, Eye in the Sky and The Dark Tower, who's famous for his recurring TV roles in eKasi+ and Traffic!

To open the watch party and movie night festival, local muso ShenFM will be performing a special Heritage Day song. Having collaborated with Jimmy Dludlu, played for Mandela at his 90th birthday and competed on The Voice, he's a big-hearted South African with immense musical abilities.

As host and head film fanatic, Spling will be sharing fascinating movie trivia, running live-commentary on each film and getting people warmed up with some fun movie games on socials before the opening credits roll.

It's easy to participate. Subscribe to Showmax if you aren't already! Follow /SplingMovies on Facebook and Twitter, join the official Bingeing with Spling watch party group on Facebook, use the #BingeingWithSpling hashtag on Twitter or hop onto our new WhatsApp watch party chat room group.

To spice things up, we're giving participants a chance to win some amazing prizes including: 3x Showmax standard vouchers (3 months), 2x Showmax Pro vouchers (3 months) and 3x copies of the book 'Confluence' by Piers Cruickshanks. Check out our competition posts or simply comment with #BingeingWithSpling to stand a chance of winning a prize.

Being a celebration of movies, our heritage and our nation we're hoping to reach as many South Africans as possible!

Bingeing with Spling is a watch party event series and the "best movie night in... ever" according to one of our regulars. Being passionate about film, Spling wants to build a community of movie lovers (not fighters) who share in the magic of movies by doing movie night together. Picking a main feature, inviting special guests, hosting the event and highlighting special performances with a curtain-raiser short film... it's a celebration of everything film!

Softie Wins Best Documentary at DIFF

Softie has won Best Documentary at the Durban International Film Festival (DIFF). The Kenyan documentary by director Sam Soko, opened Hot Docs 2020, impressed at Sundance and won Best African documentary at the Encounters International South African Documentary Film Festival just weeks ago. Read more about what went into the making of Softie based on Soko's DFM interview with Wilfred Okiche.

Softie documentary

The film follows Boniface "Softie" Mwangi, a photographer turned political activist who has to try and figure out, which comes first between family and country. Originally intended to be a 5 minute YouTube video, the documentary morphed into a much broader picture taking over 5 years to capture. Filmed without a script it retains a pure documentary feel as more than 600 hours of footage were condensed into the 96 minute feature-length film running time.

In a heartfelt acceptance speech via video conference from Kenya, Soko said "Thank you so much to the Durban Film Festival for honoring us with this award. It’s a culmination of the love and support we’ve received from South Africa over the years. We pitched at Durban a few years ago, and met such incredible people who enriched our work as artists."

He went on to highlight five young Sudanese artists who were recently found guilty of charges of ‘public annoyance’ while rehearsing a play. This win means Softie automatically qualifies for consideration for nomination at the next Academy Awards, scheduled to take place in Los Angeles, California on April 25, 2021.

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