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Theoretically, An Even More Paranoid Conspiratorial Phone Call

Critic:

Jason Knight

|

Posted on:

6 Oct 2021

Film Reviews
Theoretically, An Even More Paranoid Conspiratorial Phone Call
Directed by:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato
Written by:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato
Starring:
Jorge Luis Villacorta Santamato

A man embarks on a long journey that involves a great deal of phone interaction and no speech.

 

The protagonist (Santamato) is sitting at his desk, in an office. He receives a phone call that seemingly causes him to travel a very long distance in order to reach a specific destination, where he would be able to deal with business. He travels by plane and then by motor vehicle and throughout almost the entire film, he is dealing with his mobile phone.

 

What stands out in this surreal comedy-adventure road movie is that the hero is the only person seen in the film and he never utters a single word. When he uses his phone, he appears to be 'communicating' with the caller by means of facial expressions and hand gestures. He places the phone on his ear and listens and when it is time to respond, he tends to look at the phone's screen and pass on information by making signs with his hands and face, apparently so that the person on the other end of the phone can see them. This film communicates with the viewer mainly through image rather than sound and there is no music.

 

The entire feature consists of approximately ten long takes, with the camera constantly being stationary. The protagonist is almost always on screen, either in a medium shot or a long shot and the audience observes him as he interacts with his phone or attempts to do other things like taking a nap while on the plane or try to get comfortable.

 

Since there are no spoken words (or any written ones), the viewer relies heavily on Santamato's actions in order to try to make sense of the plot. And it is not easy to do so. The man is clearly on an important mission and needs to get somewhere. But why? Who is the protagonist and who is he communicating with via his phone? Santamato plays the part well, however, trying to understand the plot can be frustrating and going through ten-minute long takes one after the other with the man interacting silently with his phone while sitting down and occasionally moving around violently like a lunatic may not be very interesting to view and become tiring after a while.

 

Santamato's character wears a suit and when he travels, he wears a surgical mask and a face mask, giving the impression that the narrative takes place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

There are a couple of shots that include beautiful mountain scenery in the background. This scenery is possibly the highlight of this movie.

 

Most viewers will probably not enjoy this film and that will most likely be because they will struggle to understand the plot and the addition of the camera that never moves and the lack of soundtrack make the experience even less interesting. Perhaps this kind of approach to storytelling would work better as a short film, not a film lasting for an hour and a half.

Indie Feature Film, World Cinema