As the FNC’s last few days are upon us, Cinetalk saved our best pick for the end. It’s of course, not for all audiences. However, the subject matter and the prowess with which it was handled, deserves some attention. It’s an important piece of filmmaking. Everyone with the stomach for it should definitely watch it before the festival ends.
As most of us already know, the Internet has a dirty underbelly. Sex offenders easily use the online community as their hunting grounds. The intro of Caught in the Net, is filled with kids under the age of 10, glued to their little devices. Parental supervision is scarce. With that in mind, we should understand that punishing our kids for interacting with perverted strangers online isn’t the way to teach anything. One, they shouldn’t have the devices, period. Two, if they have them, adults should explain the birds and the bees and how disgusting social media can really be.
In an attempt to bring to the surface the perpetrators of illegal and lewd acts, Barbora Chalupova and Vít Klusák made a bold move. The documentarists chose controversial methods to let the scum unearth themselves. They came up with an elaborate plan. To trap sexual predators, they did a casting call for adult models who could pass for 12 or 13-year old girls. Out of the 23 women at the casting, 19 admitted they themselves had experienced these online behaviors with older men, either willingly or unknowingly. This shows how prevalent the problem really is.
Three women were chosen. With girlish posture, mannerisms and hair clips, anyone would have been fooled. To make things even more believable, the crew constructed three realistic pre-teen bedrooms, complete with teddy bears, pink decor, and even some items from the actresses’ own childhood. The presence of their own keepsakes helped them get into character.
Within minutes of putting their fabricated social media profiles online, in rolled the perverts. They were not shy to address a total stranger. When the girls asked if the men minded they were only 12 or 13, they all said no. Some men think that a 13-year old these days is as mature as a 23-year old. Kids do receive pornographic content, and some wouldn’t refuse to meet a stranger without their parent’s knowledge.
While the crew monitored all interactions, they learned that these were largely about sexuality with no feeling. The child is a utility to get off. The predators don’t have any concern about the impact of their actions on the other party. Some, however, use emotional blackmail to get extra favors.
If you don’t take off your shirt, I’ll tell your parents about us.
And if the child agrees to send lewd pictures, those can then be held over them as well.
If you don’t do what I tell you, these are going on Facebook.
Though such young children may not even yet know the value of money, some predators will offer to pay them for sexual favors.
But sometimes, it’s a very small world. Members of the crew recognized a particular predator from daily life, and made a point of investigating deeper. Instead of calling the police, the vigilante filmmakers, along with their three actresses, followed the guy home. The conversation showed how very little a predator even cares what people think of him. He felt justified in his actions because if these girls were so badly raised to go online and chat with filthy old men, then bad parents deserve their children to be molested.
Due to the vast amount of these human filthballs, they cannot be stopped. But the hope in making the film was to have websites block the culprits. It should also be a note to parents. Banning the child’s behavior or taking away his or her Smartphone doesn’t stop anything. Instead, we need to have important discussions with our kids.
Professionals were consulted throughout the filming. Though the crew went rogue, it doesn’t mean they didn’t refer to psychologists, childcare workers, and so on. And in the end, justice is starting to be served. Criminal proceedings did occur thanks to the film.
Caught in the Net – On Demand October 7th – 31st, 2020