From a young age Michael ‘Mafiaboy’ Calce loved figuring out how things worked. By time he was nine-years-old, he was infatuated with solving the biggest puzzle he ever encountered…the internet. Curiosity and online chatrooms quickly led him down a dark path as he was eventually recruited by an elite hacker group by age thirteen. Before he knew it, he was addicted to the limitless power that hacking seemingly provided.
Hubert Davis’ documentary short Rivolta is more than a glimpse into the rise and fall of Calce, it is a cautionary tale for the audience. The film is concerned with the apathetic nature many of us have when it comes to the security of our technical devices. Often perceived as simply a computer crime, Davis’s aims to wakeup viewers to the realities of hacking, including the intimate violation of privacy of its victims.
Providing a brief examination of a specific period in time, Rivolta leaves several questions about Calce’s life unanswered. Part of this is due to the fact that Davis relies solely on Calce to narrate his own story. As a result, we do not get the full perspective of what his friends and family thought when he was hunted down by the FBI after bringing down websites such as Yahoo. Though this additional insight would have allowed a better connection between the audience and Calce, Davis’s film is effective in showing how vulnerable we really are. Rivolta is the type of film that will have you running to check the various device’s security settings once the final credits role.
Rivolta plays Hot Docs as part of the Singular Sensation(s) Shorts Program on:
Friday, April 28, 1:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Sunday, April 30, 3:30 PM, Innis Town Hall
Sunday, May 7, 6:00 PM, TIFF Bell Lightbox