Creepily validating Sean Parkers Social Network proclamation that Now were going to live on the Internet, Life 2.0 plugs into Second Life, the PC-gaming realm where users construct avatars, environments, and relationships that often have real-world implications. The shifting boundaries between virtual and flesh-and-blood realities are empathetically investigated by director Jason Spingarn-Koff, who alternates between traditional nonfiction footage and graphical Second Life clips in a manner that reflects the lives of his obsessive subjects. Those include a woman claiming to earn a six-figure salary selling computer-society clothes and mansions, a young man playing as an 11-year-old girl (which he justifies to his understandably chagrined fiancée with Jungian psychology), and a middle-aged couple having an online affair that soon goes offline. With nonjudgmental compassion, Spingarn-Koff depicts how these individualsfleeing into imaginary universes to express and indulge emotional desires that inevitably bleed into their everyday existenceslong for self-actualization and fulfillment. At once a disturbing vision of escape, a cautious portrait of liberation, and an exploration of authenticity and artificialityas epitomized by a Second Lifers fondness for Vegass Paris hotel but indifference for the real Parisits a documentary that trades not in absolutes but unsettling ambiguity.
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