The whole schmozzle around Woody Allen, Mia Farrow and Dylan Farrow is tawdry and complicated, not least by Allen’s marriage to Soon-Yi Previn. Disturbing allegations about Allen’s relationship with Dylan Farrow, although cleared in a legal context, linger in the public mind, and Allen V. Farrow, through HBO and available on Foxtel over four hour-long episodes dropping weekly, makes the whole affair murkier. Resolutely on the ‘side’ of Dylan (and Mia, and Ronan), it adds to the conversation, but not to the clarity, because, one sadly suspects, the definitive history will never be written. If you’re fascinated by it all, by all means watch; if you’re sick of it all, no need to get back into it all here. I will be glued to every minute.
Nick Bilton has written, and podcasted, on technology, entertainingly, for Vanity Fair for a while. Now he’s made a breezy documentary about Instagram influencers called Fake Famous for HBO (available on Foxtel On Demand in Australia). If you know a lot about them already, there may not be much here for you; if you know nothing, then there may be a lot; if, like me, you know about them but steer clear of them (and Instagram) at all costs, these eighty-three colourful minutes will confirm your worst fears. Bilton auditions and hires three pretty young people in LA, buys them 7,500 bots to get their Instagram accounts rolling, then proceeds to see if he can make any of them ‘famous’ using the fraudulent practices real influencers use. Along the way we get to see if the process has any positive sides along with the clear negatives (such as spending your precious time on Earth trying to amass little hearts on a small metal device rather than playing in the sunshine). It’s by no means as serious, intense or revelatory as similar tech docs such as The Social Dilemma, but Bilton’s light-hearted, easily watchable social experiment does offer some insight even to a NeverGrammer like me. It’s also a very sunny portrait of modern Los Angeles in all its fatuous glory.