“Another Body”

The topic of gender-based violence in the form of deepfake porn is explored in co-directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn’s timely, eye-opening documentary, “Another Body.” The film tells the story of a college student who discovers videos and photos of her face plastered on someone else’s nude body online, and follows her quest for justice as she works with a couple of her classmates (who were also victims) to expose the perpetrator. This is a documentary that will educate you, will disturb you, and will infuriate you.

Using video diaries, animation, phone conversations, and allowing the victims tell their stories in their own words, Hamlyn and Compton keep things engaging. They have crafted a film that tackles a huge societal problem specific to the digital age that also feels deeply personal. What’s so fascinating is that these women, who have changed their names and appearances for the film, are created with deepfake tech to keep their privacy. They look like real women being interviewed (which they are, yet not), which makes the point about how dangerous this technology is crystal clear.

When “Taylor” first discovered this faux porn online, she went to the authorities to report it. They were no help and did nothing because there are only a few states with deepfake laws, and none at the federal level. And since it’s only the victim’s face and not their body, non-consensual pornography laws do not apply. The young woman was actually told to “just ignore it” because the porn sites are protected by law. Infuriating, isn’t it?

One of the most shocking and horrifying statistics is that 90% of deepfakes are non-consensual pornography of women. It’s chilling and scary how this can happen, especially when you consider how common gendered online harassment is becoming. It’s a situation where the perpetrators can remain anonymous while the victims suffer the consequences.

The documentary doesn’t have a lot of twists and turns and is fairly straightforward, especially when it turns into an investigation as the women work together to try and figure out who targeted them and why. They do their own digging to solve the mystery of who’s behind the fake videos and in the process, discover many more women whom they know that have also been violated. They share a common connection of attending the same university, and the film interviews experts that explain the women who are most often targets of this type of crime are those who are powerful, successful, or seen as unobtainable in some way. In other words, it could be anybody.

“Another Body” is a film that needs to be seen, if only to make people aware that deepfake porn isn’t just on the road to becoming a serious problem: it already is one.

By: Louisa Moore

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