Everyone in USA has probably spoken with a call center in India. Did you ever wonder, who are these people, is the person I am speaking to what they are trained to sound like on the phone, what is this person really like? This chilling doc goes much further than idle curiosity to show us individuals brainwashed into being the perfect callcenter voice, and sold an image of USA as a McDonaldland utopia.
I saw this film last year at the Transmediale 11 festival Berlin and was absolutely floored! A radical, genuinely "modern" piece of fractured cinema. Tweaking the realist conventions of documentary film making through moody cinematography and a glitchy droned-out soundtrack reminiscent of future noir or science fiction, JOHN & JANE feels like a documentary made by the offspring of JG ballard and Jean Baudrillard.
"Some fucking callers call up, 'Are you an answering machine?'" one Mumbai call center worker says during a break. Another explains that after working all night "you're back in India." Ashim Ahluwalia's brilliant sophisticated doc offers an immersive look behind the scrim of globalization at call agents on and off their jobs and how phone support impacts culture, language and identity. A haunting and sobering film.