REVIEW: ‘The Hater’ shows the dark side of the web

“The Hater” is the latest release from Oscar-nominated Polish director Jan Komasa. (Supplied)
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Updated 13 August 2020

REVIEW: ‘The Hater’ shows the dark side of the web

  • Psychological thriller follows a vengeful teen on a mission of disinformation

AMMAN: “The Hater” — the latest release from Oscar-nominated Polish director Jan Komasa — sees expelled law student Tomasz taking a job at a shady PR firm, where he discovers an affinity for crafting disinformation campaigns and whipping up online fanaticism.

Tomasz develops a close relationship with a wealthy progressive family he knew in his childhood, only to wind up employing his new skillset when his obsession with the liberal family (or, more specifically, their daughter) takes a sinister turn.

After proving himself by trashing the reputation of an up-and-coming fitness guru, Tomasz is given a more substantial target: the mayoral campaign of a charismatic, liberal politician supported by the family. With sinister glee, the wayward teenager ingratiates himself with the campaign before pulling it apart in brutal fashion.

“The Hater” sees expelled law student Tomasz taking a job at a shady PR firm. (Supplied) 

Komasa’s movie wound up being tragically prescient as, just a few weeks after filming was completed, the mayor of Gdansk — a liberal Polish politician frequently targeted by online campaigns — was stabbed to death during a campaign event. The horrible parallel lends the movie a discomforting air, and makes for an occasionally unpleasant viewing experience.

Maciej Musiałowski puts in an intense performance as Tomasz, veering from depressed loner to sociopathic mastermind a little too easily for audiences to develop much sympathy for the character’s plight. At times, Tomasz is almost undone by his inexperience and naivety, but on other occasions he demonstrates such calculating dispassion that it’s virtually impossible to feel much empathy.

“The Hater” goes to some dark places as Tomasz stokes online hatred, manipulates his friends and channels white nationalist tendencies to achieve his goals. But with a protagonist prone to such extreme behaviors, it’s hard to figure out who, if anyone, the audience is supposed to be rooting for. And when the film’s savage (albeit telegraphed) climax rolls around, there’s an unsatisfying sense of a missed opportunity.

“The Hater” asks a few, hard questions about online communities, trolling and fake news. But it never really gets around to answering any of them.

Lebanese concept store Dikkeni gives back through art, fashion

Dikkeni aims to supports the creative industry in Lebanon. (Instagram)
Updated 19 September 2020

Lebanese concept store Dikkeni gives back through art, fashion

DUBAI: Founded in London, online concept store Dikkeni is home to a number of established and up-and-coming Lebanese artists, designers and creative talents who sell their wares through the platform, which in turn ensures all net proceeds made from consumer purchases go directly to artists, brands and local NGOs.

Launched under the Lebanese non-profit organization Impact Lebanon, Dikkeni aims to supports the creative industry in Lebanon.

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Launched this summer, co-founder Daniella Chartouni spoke to Arab News about the aims of the website.

“Our primary interest is in supporting the designers and making sure that they can continue to produce. Our secondary interest is offering the relief to Lebanon that it needs” — something that is a key concern after the Aug. 4 explosion that ripped through Beirut.

Dikkeni launched in May after the founders felt the need to support the creative industry in their country.

A lot of designers, small businesses and artists in Lebanon have stopped producing due to inflation, Chartouni explained. “No one is buying in Lebanon so, it’s a very tough situation, and the creative industry is one of Lebanon’s best industries.” 

She also added that the street protests which occurred in Lebanon in 2019 constituted “a big time” for Lebanese artists. “They got very inspired by the change happening in the country. So, it was a great way to launch.”

The online platform recently launched their second collection. They partnered with non-profit organization Lebanon Needs, whose focus is healthcare and providing medication, products which Chartouni believes are very difficult to secure during the current situation.

Dikkeni is currently featuring eight artists and designers, who produce sustainable products in diverse art forms, like jewelry, home decor, photography, fashion and more. 

When speaking to Tina Mouheb, one of the UK-based artists who is currently working with Dikkeni, she said that this project is of great importance to her. 

“Firstly, it is my first ‘public’ art display which allows me – as a humble, uprising, socially conscious artist – to start finding my voice,” the designer and former landscape architect told Arab News. “Another reason is the timing of such initiative in the midst of (the) chaos in Lebanon. The need to help local Lebanese NGOs is imperative.”