Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Marc DeGuerre’s documentary for the CBC and the Documentary Channel, now available widely on DVD, ‘A Perfect Fake’ was probably the creepiest film I’ve seen in sometime.  If not ever.  A series of interviews and profiles of noted scholars, CGI artist, collectors and inventors, ‘A Perfect Fake’ tells the story of man’s pursuit of female perfection, opening with a description of Pygmalion and the love he bestowed upon his perfectly crafted marble statue.

The doc started out innocently enough with various academics discussing relationships and man’s pursuit of creating perfection through art and the representations and manifestations of such goals.  From there we are taken to modern times, particularly some of the breathtaking work being done with CGI in video games and movies.  They demonstrate the motion capture process, and the full body scans used to assist in replicating the always challenging to reproduce human form.  Any one who has ever played a video games, such as the Dead or Alive series as demonstrated in this documentary or witnessed any of the amazing CGI 3D creations that artist are able to make will find this section of the documentary very revealing.

Ultimately though, these early sections of the DVD simply serve as background information for the DVD is actually about, and this is the reception of sexual stimulation through virtual means.  And when one desires to find out where the cutting edge of virtual sex is taking place, then one needs to take a trip to Japan, and not only do we go to Japan, but by golly, the documentary never leaves there.

Apparently there is CGI porn out there, and the Japanese have been creating animated porn through their Hentai derived Anime for years, but the desire of the creators that

we are introduced to in this doc is to raise the level of interactivity to the user.  So there are actually quite a few 3D interactive sex games in which you can do all kinds of funny things with your mouse pointer on your computer.  All kinds of things.  Now the fact that you can virtually grope a woman without her contacting the authorities is one thing, but as the academics note, users may still find it unsatisfactory because it lacks the tactile function of touching that humans require to interact sexually.  This form erotic expression will ultimately become unfulfilling for the participant they tell us.

Now it gets a little wierd.

Still hanging out in Japan we meet an inventor who has created a fake vagina, coupled with an anal plug, which is designed to receive stimulation from internet data, so theoretically, one could have sex over the internet.  But if you could see the number of wires, and the amount of electricity required to operate dudes contraption, you may want to think twice before inserting anything in it. 

Then we meet the dollmakers.  These entrepreneurs create life size ‘love dolls’ complete with orifices for your disposal.  This is an industry that is taking off so fast, it even has its own Hustler style magazine.  We also meet the doll owners, and one man in particular who has forty or so dolls, as he tells us that he can’t be ‘satisfied’ with just one doll, and he also gives a brief demonstration of what he does with the dolls. 

There were times when watching ‘A Perfect Fake’ when it was downright squirm in your seat uncomfortable.  It’s not like director De Guerre presented his documentary in support of one view or another, like the previous doc I’ve recent seen, ‘The God Who Wasn’t There’ where that director was actually lobbying a cause.  No, De Guerre is simply providing fair and balanced information where the viewer can make their own judgments based on what they have just seen.  And what I saw disturbed me to no end.  But should it?  What’s the difference between someone who has sex with a doll compared to someone who watches porn all day, or someone who interacts with nothing and watches TV all day then goes to bed?  It’s not like having sex with dolls is a crime, whereas the porn watcher, though detached, through his financial support is enabling the objectification and degradation of women (that’s my mother talking there).  It is most certainly a gray area, but oh my it doesn’t make it any less creepy to watch. 

A perfect fake, though far to brief, maybe mercifully so, is the best kind of documentary.  One which doesn’t take sides as true journalism should always do, presents information, forces you to think and contemplate and make your own decisions.  There is some disturbing imagery in this short film, and it may not be for everybody but it is very well done.

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