Perfect Strangers: Have We Lost Our Privacy?

Perfect Strangers: Have We Lost Our Privacy?

What would happen if our friends and acquaintances suddenly had access to our social networks? What are we hiding in our smartphones? Perfect Strangers   (2017) is a Spanish film that provides answers to these questions. Directed by Álex de la Iglesia. It is an adaptation of the Italian counterpart Perfetti Sconosciuti   (2016) by the filmmaker Paolo Genovese. Both versions show us the same thing: a group of friends getting together for a nice dinner. But suddenly the mood threatens to change when the most intimate details of her life come to light through a game.

Perfect Strangers   complements the filmography of this director from Bilbao, Spain. After the premiere of El Bar  (2017) in the same year, and films like My Big Night   (2015) or Alone Among Neighbors – La comunidad   (2000), it is strange now to watch this comedy that has a more or less realistic review of it our society today seems to exercise. De la Iglesia got us used to a different kind of humor, a black, bestial and much more surrealistic humor; normal situations that end up going to extremes and are incredibly insane.

Perhaps that’s why many can’t do anything with Perfect Strangers   . The approach chosen is undoubtedly interesting, but this dinner lacks a heartier dish and maybe there were just too many starters left. Too many ingredients for a very short and from the beginning too predictable meeting, which makes some spectators nasty, so that they leave the dessert as it is.

Yet the film’s idea, discourse, and reflections do indeed have an aim that deserves recognition. Depicted in the form of a tragic comedy, it doesn’t take much more than a cell phone in a small space to unleash the tragedy. A comedy relating to current reality that makes us smile, but also makes us think: What are the benefits of new technologies? Do we really know the people who are close to us? Perfect Strangers  provides us with answers to these questions in various tragicomic situations.

Privacy in the age of smartphones

Social networks are part of our life; our smartphone is almost an extension of our arm and at the same time it is also a kind of diary. We always carry it with us, we store pictures, conversations and an infinite amount of information, some of which we share with others, on it. What we look for on the internet is part of our privacy. We are never alone or lonely because the Internet is always with us. And the internet knows some of our most intimate thoughts.

Friends cooking together

In social networks we show ourselves the way we want to show ourselves to the world: the most beautiful photos from our trip or the delicious food that we are about to eat. But what’s real about it? We live in a world in which we constantly expose ourselves to judgment from others, from strangers. That is why we try to embellish the image that we want to convey to the world, although sometimes it does not correspond to reality.

We can therefore say that we live in a constant lie, a false reality that is nothing more than a distortion of ourselves. Often times we don’t even believe what we publish. We join initiatives just because we fear what others might say about us, and we share news that we haven’t even read but whose headlines caught our attention. All of this is questioned in Perfect Strangers , a comedy that watches while a group of friends do a soul striptease. We accompany these people who supposedly know each other very well.

The situations presented by de la Iglesia are so crazy that they gradually lose credibility. We are not talking about insane situations because they are simply impossible. It’s just hard to believe that a group of people with so many secrets could be tempted to divulge everything about themselves. That really is the last thing we want to do: show our very private and precious truth.

But that’s exactly what happens to our characters. They take off their mask and let their darkest secrets come to light, even at the risk of losing everything they have. The comedy is characterized by exactly this tragedy, by the misery. We have to laugh when we follow the many coincidences that drag out the plot of the film. Coincidences that put an end to the friendship and mutual affection of all involved.

Friends at dinner

Much of our privacy is kept in a small device called a smartphone. A device that accompanies us everywhere and at all times and that can reveal all information at any time. What would happen if we left it on a table for one night in front of our loved ones? Although we may think that there is nothing to fear, a secret, however small, would surely be revealed. Our privacy no longer belongs to us. We keep it in our cell phone and give others access to it, no matter how many passwords it may protect.

Perfect Strangers:   A Portrait of Our Society Today

Have we lost our privacy? Maybe we are painting the wrong picture of ourselves. We draw a picture of ourselves that is very far from reality. Unfortunately, the truth is that some of our privacy no longer exists. We live such an open life that this little something that we consider our privacy and in which we want to keep these little secrets lives in our smartphone. Perfect Strangers   skilfully depicts the dependence on and fear of our self-image, the fear of the revelation of our true self.

Some characters hesitate a little longer than others to comply with this suggestion. The pressure of the group, especially the pressure exerted by the respective partners on the individual, is so great that it moves them to show the most intimate side of themselves in the end. In the case of two characters, we see that fear overshadows the game, which nonetheless leads to a very funny scene. Faced with the fear of being exposed by his partner, Antonio Pepe suggests exchanging the phones. What Antonio doesn’t know is that this also protects Pepe from a secret that he has not yet revealed to any of his friends.

This privacy protection means that both of them refuse to admit that they exchanged their cell phones, even if this situation creates extreme tension. They don’t want to reveal it, even though they know that if they resolve the situation, everything could be cleared up. But both cling to their secret, to their small space of privacy, to which they do not want to allow others access.

Friends stand together on a balcony

If there is one thing we can’t take today, it’s boredom. We see that from Eva’s character, who wants something to happen that night from the start; something good or bad, the main thing is something that breaks with routine, with this wretched monotony.

An interesting phenomenon that accompanies this series of coincidences runs through the entire film: the blood moon. Since ancient times we have known about the influence of the moon on our world, especially when it comes to liquid elements. The tides are determined by the moon, but our brain is also surrounded by a liquid. This is why some philosophers, such as B. Aristotle, a certain correlation between the phases of the moon and human behavior. So the moon has enormous power that not even the best smartphones on the market can compete with. The blood moon influences the situation in the film in an impressive way and makes the participants irrational.

Perfect Strangers  is kind of crazy, but also hilarious at the same time. The film shows us the possible consequences of our world today, makes us think about hypocrisy, lies and false appearances. Do we really know the people who are closest to us or do we just know the picture they want to paint of themselves? Do we also transfer the falsehood of social networks to our own daily reality?

With Perfect Strangers,  Álex de la Iglesia gives us a remake of this comedy, which in the end has that typical character of de la Iglesias films, which makes us laugh on the one hand and think on the other.

“Maybe I never knew you.”

Perfect Strangers

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button