June 26, 2016 at 5:11 pm | Posted in 2016 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

So now, in my on-going series of films you are never likely to see, allow me to present, “Tickled.” This documentary, made by two guys from New Zealand, explores the underground world of “competitive tickling” videos. Yes, it is what it sounds like. Well, sort of. These are videos of young, mostly college-age jocks (all men) who hold each other down and gang-tickle one of them, while he squirms and giggles and begs them to stop. But, contrary to what you might think, these guys are all fully clothed and nothing remotely sexual happens (other than young guys tickling each other…). Journalist David Farrier came across one of these sites online, became fascinated by this strange world and reached out to the company for an interview. That is when things got very strange, indeed. Farrier and fellow filmmaker, Dylan Reeve, take us with them through the looking glass into a world that just keeps getting more and more bizarre. It is all so odd and light-hearted and funny at first but then becomes something far more troubling. Farrier and Reeve do a good job of building suspense as they keep digging, hitting roadblocks and facing threats at every turn. This film did not go anywhere that I thought it would, both for good and for bad. I had entered the theater expecting something funny and light. I left 90 minutes later disturbed and enlightened. But I think there is something genuinely important happening here. Probably very few people are interested in this particular type of fetish video. But I wonder how many have watched webcam porn without stopping to think if those folks are consenting to having their images shared with the world. While I don’t know that you need to rush to the theater to see this documentary, it is definitely worth checking out when it pops up on Netflix. It was a wild ride, full of fascinating twists and turns.  And, as with any good detective story, some of them will genuinely surprise you. What may be most surprising, though, is the way it might make folks reconsider the implications of their own actions. That would not be such a bad thing.



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