Sunday, March 11, 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

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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.

2 comments:

Sacred Suzie said...

Oh that is just so crazy! I can't believe people talked about it like that right before they showed it, what's up with that?

It sounds so sad in so many ways, many people in North America are angry about outsourcing and yet, is it a huge loss to us? It just sends work we don't want to another culture to deal with and that doesn't sound fair at all.

Interesting Shannon, never heard of this one or knew anything about it.

Jamie said...

I love the point your making about things being revealed as the director intended - that is such an excellent point! I agree with you that the place for that is discussion afterwards not in the introduction.

And I'm with you on wanting to know more. I especially wanted to know what these people were doing before they worked at the call centre and what they were being paid.