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||IMDB Rating: 5.7/10 from votes
||Release: 17 January 2014 (USA) /
||Genre: Crime, Documentary, News, Sci-Fi
||Director: Valerie Veatch,
||Stars: Alexis Rhee, Caitlin Mehner
||Synopsis: LOVE CHILD is a documentary following of the first tried case of Internet Addiction the world has ever seen. Filmed over two years in Seoul, Korea, the film follows the story of a young couple in South Korea who were immersed in an on line game raising a fairy child and their real life baby died of neglect. The 2010 trial that followed saw the first ever usage of the term 'Internet Addiction' as the young couple's lawyer crafted a mental illness defense. Weaving together footage of the game, interviews and reenactments, LOVE CHILD tells a haunting tale set in a world where virtual is the new reality. Written by Anonymous
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In the 1990's, South Korea was still trailing behind in the
internet/online renaissance that incalculably impacted global
communication, so in response to its tardiness, the South Korean
government took a huge risk in building and developing infrastructure
that would not only improve South Korea's communication with the world
but make it one of the world's biggest digital leaders. Its
infrastructure, which greatly assisted in broadband, wireless, and
wired connectivity propelled it to one of the main digital giants in
the twenty-first century, but its prolific use of technology has also
made it a nation affected greatly by "internet addiction."
Valerie Veatch's Love Child explores the idea of internet addiction in
South Korea by using one of its most public cases as its thesis. In
2010, in the city of Seoul, South Korea, an infant child was found dead
from malnutrition directly because of parental neglect. The parents of
the child were found to play an RPG game online for anywhere between
six and twelve hours a day; a game that was, ironically, centered on
raising and nurturing a virtual child that would grow up to bear
unthinkable powers. The case was heavily publicized and the idea of
whether or not internet addiction could be a practical and rational
diagnosis began to concern people globally.
The couple was playing the computer game Prius, which, we learn, has
attracted numerous people to its online community thanks to its
gorgeous, colorful graphics, heavy-use of individuality through
pre-programmed personalities, and entirely customizable avatars. While
the in-home computer is still a very big luxury in South Korea, many
flock to a local gaming lounge, equipped with dozens of
fully-customized computers where people pay by the hour to play the
latest online video games. The couple was said to have played up to ten
to twelve hours at these lounges for the price of seven, thanks to
attractive deals the club often boasts, and that the couple's only
source of income seemed to come directly from the solicitation of items
and features in the game for people that didn't want to go through the
labor of actually earning such things themselves.
Love Child tells a tragic story, but one that was sooner or later going
to be told, what with the international rise of the internet and the
amount of people who center their lives around it. Veatch's exploration
reminds me of the kind of exploration Susan Saladoff gave to Stella
Liebeck, the elderly woman who filed a lawsuit against McDonald's after
accidentally spilling the restaurant's coffee on herself gave her third
degree burns, in her documentary Hot Coffee. The only difference is
Saladoff worked to illustrate and correct numerous misconceptions about
Liebeck and her case that were perpetuated by people shortchanged or
rewriting the case in their own blatantly incorrect way. Veatch's story
about the Korean couple is as bad as it sounds, and while the idea of
internet addiction is a very plausible explanation, it still doesn't
lessen the fact that a child died of starvation in a well-off country
because of basic parental neglect.
Veatch occasionally veers off into a more impressionistic style,
atypical of most documentaries, becoming more fascinated by video clips
of Prius gameplay along with medium-length shots of random, day-to-day
occurrences in South Korea (case and point, a child flinging an
umbrella around like a sword until it becomes inside out, with the
boy's mother helping him while she's talking on her cell phone). This
proves distracting from Veatch's core thesis, which, instead of diving
into the court case for the South Korean parents, is focusing on other
minor instances that almost seem open for some kind of metaphorical
Love Child, as a look at internet addiction and the side effects of
virtual dependency drawn in broadstrokes and taken in basic context,
still works as a documentary, for its key purpose is achieved through
the introduction of a specific example that bleeds into a larger,
bigger issue, equipped with historical context on another country.
Believe me when I say, however, this will not be all we hear about this
subject, especially in documentary form.
NOTE: Love Child will air throughout the month of August 2014 on HBO.
Directed by: Valerie Veatch.
Tags for Love Child Full Movie
, Caitlin Mehner
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