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You Need To See This 17-Minute Film Set Entirely On A Teen's Computer Screen

Noah, a short film that debuted at the Toronto International FIlm Festival, illustrates the flitting attention span and lack of true connection in digital culture more clearly than anything else in recent memory. (Warning: NSFW)

These words are probably unfurling inside one of many open tabs on your computer screen. Perhaps one tab is for work, one is for chatting, and another is for Twitter. You probably even have some others open for no particular reason. This is the way we receive information and the way we communicate now: constantly, simultaneously, compulsively, endlessly, and more and more often, solitarily. This strange new mode of living—and its indelible effect on our humanity—is perfectly captured in a new short film that debuted this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The 17-minute, mildly NSFW Noah is unlike anything you've seen before in a movie—only because it is exactly like what many of us see on our computers all the time. Created by Canadian film students Walter Woodman and Patrick Cederberg, the film begins when our high school senior protagonist types in the password that opens up his laptop, and the narrative takes place entirely on his computer screen.

From the desktop photo of a young couple posing for the camera, we learn that Noah has a girlfriend. Their relationship serves as the centerpiece of this cautionary tale about digital culture. Through Noah's perspective, we see the way the couple communicates, either in Facebook chat or Skype, with him flitting through any number of other online activities at the same time, while approximating being present for their conversation. Things really get interesting, however, when our protagonist hacks into his girlfriend's Facebook account. The rest of the film deals with the fallout from this act.

Lending the project authenticity is the filmmakers' attention to detail. From the screen names (a friend calls himself "Kanye East") to the casual cat photo-related deceit in the couple's relationship, it all seems remarkably lived-in and now. Noah assumes the viewer is familiar with certain modernities like the function on Facebook that shows precisely when a sent message has been seen, and uses these to rewarding dramatic effect. Also commendable: either Woodman or Cederberg took the time to curate a "Cuddle Jams" playlist, which gradually slides from Donna Lewis to Metallica.

Cuddle Jams <3

Lest you think that watching some couple Skype sounds boring, though, this thing moves at the speed of an ADD-afflicted hummingbird, zooming in on key pieces of information as Noah learns them, before zipping off to follow what he does with the new intel. It doesn't matter how far removed in age you are from the characters, if you are digitally savvy enough to be reading this article, Noah will hit uncomfortably close to home.

While the creators of the video figure out the next phase of its distribution, we are temporarily ceasing our stream of the film in this post. Check back soon, though, for when we reinstate it, and in the meantime have a look at some images from Noah in the slides above.

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174 Comments

  • Riiska Aprilia Putry

    (Cerita Sukses Jadi SARJANA Singkat Dengan Membeli Ijazah) Saya ingin berbagi cerita kepada anda semua khsusnya untuk teman2 yang tdk memiliki pendidikian yang cukup untuk mendapat pekerjaan yang layak, ,sebelumnya saya perkenalkan nama saya: Riiska Aprilia Putry”, Domisili PROVENSI RIAU tepat-nya di KOTA PEKANBARU. Tak bisa di pungkiri sayapun dulunya hanya seorang pengangguran. Sulit sekali dapat pekerjaan, yaaa maklumlah pendidikan saya bisa dibilang sangat minim cuma tamat SMP. Pertama bekerja saya hanya jadi “Clenin Servis” di salah satu kantor pemerintahan di PEKANBARU RIAU. Hampir 3 thn saya bekerja disana, jangankan simpanan untuk tabungan untuk sehari-hari saja sulit. Sempat muncul dipikiran saya dan saya sadar kalau pekerjaan saya ini tidaklah menjamin masa depan, tentunya teman2 tau semeua, gaji untuk ”Clenin Servis” bisa dibilang di bawah standar. Untuk makan saja kayak-nya susah ngatur-nya hehe, dan tidak sengaja saya bertemu dgn teman lama yang juga salah satu pengawai di

  • Karoliina Vuohtoniemi

    I saw this video a year ago and it worked fine.. now i cant find out how to play it...?

  • David W. King

    I am so accustomed to seeing advertising at the top of pages that I completely missed the video at first. Instead I was attempting to click on the stills in this article. THE VIDEO IS AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.

  • Carol Rivermoon

    WOW. I used to work at jobs where I was doing three or four things at once...and now this flitting about is what "kids" do for entertainment ? Multitasking on Steroids...Good film !

  • Alex Gee

    Woah! This is easily one of the most affecting films I've ever seen. My heart was racing from start to finish. Beautifully accurate and authentic.

  • Viktor Poptolev

    Dude I checked every time my facebook when the beep of yours went off :D

  • my classmate's ex-wife makes $77 every hour on the internet . She has been without a job for six months but last month her pay was $20788 just working on the internet for a few hours. hop over to here www.jobscs.com

  • Chloe Deacon

    This really hit home, i'm at university and my computer screen is the bain of my life. It's a very true portrayal of the solitary act of plugging into the infinate world wide web

  • I tweeted this link but it doesn't seem to work on mobile. It opens up an article about New Year's Resolutions by Joe Berkowitz?