Goliath: Playing with Reality

  • Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla
  • United Kingdom, France
  • 2021
  • 25 min
  • Digital, Installation, Immersive
  • Dutch Premiere
  • DocLab: Liminal Reality, IDFA Doclab Spotlight

Goliath has been diagnosed with schizophrenia. This animated VR puts us not only in his shoes, but also in his head. As Goliath explains what has happened to him, we experience how fragmented and confusing his reality is. And how much support he finds in the virtual world of online multiplayer gaming, also socially.

The interactive VR experience blurs the boundary between game and reality. In an old-fashioned arcade game, we have to steer Goliath through all kinds of obstacles. And Goliath’s years in a psychiatric hospital are brightened for the VR user by catching flying pills. What is more real? The online gaming world, in which Goliath has friends, fun, and achievable goals? Or physical reality, in which, as the VR user experiences, he is overwhelmed by psychoses? The voiceover by actress Tilda Swinton reminds us that in the end every reality is only formed inside our heads—or disintegrates there.

This project is a virtual reality experience.


  • 25 min
  • color
  • Spoken languages: English
Created by
Barry Gene Murphy, May Abdalla
Anetta Jones, Kirsty Jennings for Anagram
Executive producer
Kirsty Jennings for Anagram, Rebecca Frankel, Liz Rosenthal for Venice Film Festival, Mark Ordesky, Amy Seidenwurm for Oculus, Yelena Rachitsky for Oculus
Katayoun Dibamehr for Floreal Films

IDFA history

Dutch Premiere
DocLab: Liminal Reality
IDFA Doclab Spotlight

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IDFA history

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