Can’t decide what to watch next? How about an art doc? Or perhaps something in the horror genre. A thriller? Maybe a legal drama. Innocence lost? A commentary on the lizard-brain evils of Internet culture and opening the door to fascist ideologies? Well, Arthur Jones’s meticulously assembled documentary tags all those bases plus a few more.
It’s the story of San Francisco counter-cultural-stoner cartoon artist Matt Furie, or more precisely the story of his slightly scatological creation, Pepe the Frog. Furie was bemused when the little green fella took off almost overnight as an Internet meme. He was less happy when Pepe began taking on a life of his own, separate from its creator. It’s a common horror setup, but the real horror began when Pepe somehow became the pet icon of a variety of right-wing extremist and white supremacist groups. This part is hard to watch.
So Furie puts on a suit and tie for probably the first time since high school senior yearbook photos, assembles a crack pro-bono legal team, and goes after the frognappers. At the time the film was released, the battle was still going on, but he had already sued Alex Jones, successfully, for two million dollars. Final verdict on genre? Educational. Chillingly so. A must-see. (92 min)
Japan release date March 12