This year's Cannes Film Festival isn't showing just one movie about gaming culture. It's showing two. There's French thriller Black Heaven with its naked bottom and now this, R U There with its awkward elevator propositioning.
As website New World Notes notes, R U There is a Dutch/French film that was shot in Taipei and in Second Life. The film follows a professional gamer who falls for a Taiwanese girl, played by Ke Huan Ru. She rubs his neck and then tells him about Second Life.
The film is showing in the Un Certain Regard section, which is for "original and different" works. Previous films, New World Notes adds, that have shown in that section include Precious and A Scanner Darkly.
This year, R U There is competing against Socialisme, directed by Jean-Luc Godard, who rocked to fame in 1959 with his French New Wave classic Breathless. Godard hasn't made a good film since 1985, so if this film doesn't stink, it has a chance of winning.
R U There was directed by David Verbeek, who was introduced to Second Life by his editor Sander Vos. "I might have told him about the wonders and difficulties that surround virtual romance, about how intense one can identify with one's avatar that is being in love with another avatar," Vos tells New World Notes. "I can imagine that struck a chord in David, because when we were shooting in SL, that was what he was searching for all the time: shots that made the audience identify with the avatar - and at the same time wonder about the metaphysical consequences of that. 'Do we now identify with the avatar or with the user behind the avatar?'"
According to Vos, about 15 to 20 percent of the film takes place in the virtual Second Life universe.