Friday, 20 July 2007

John & Jane

Director: Ashim Ahluwalia (Thin Air)
Documentary
2005, India

Seen: March 8, 2007 at Cinematheque Ontario with Jamie and Justin

Reason to see: I initially wanted to see this film during the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival but I don't think the timing worked out. Also, I am on my third attempt of #7 on my 101 list: See 1 film a week in the theatre for a year. This is week 11/52.

This documentary is based on the life and experience of employees in call centres in India who sell/provide customer service to American customers. I have a bit of a strange reaction to this film. There was a real undertone of a kind of hopelessness. A lot of the workers don't want to be there, and certainly most of the people they contact have no interest in whatever they are selling. I found for the most part I wanted to know more. Who *does* benefit from this situation? Do people have other options than working under these conditions? What was their salary like? What would that compare to? I'm not sure if these were questions other people wanted to know, but I sure did. I think it was successful as showing portraits of the people involved in the situation but I wanted to know more about the situation as a whole.

Shannon's Overall View:
I enjoyed it, but not as much as I thought
I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it

One-of wierdness about the screening: There was no previews, but before the film was shown it was introduced as it was part of the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival. In part, the introduction was interesting as it provided some context, however 2 of the 3people introducing talked about key parts of the film and/or the moments that they touched them the most. I just don't understand this. We've bought our tickets, we are sitting in the seats of the theatre, why are you telling me something that will be revealed to me in the format in which the director intended it to be seen in the next 2 hrs? Maybe if there was a discussion afterwards but I didn't want to hear that kind of thing before the film.

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© Shannon Ridler, 2007

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