Just before Christmas, Baby, aged 84, and her son Julio make different telephone calls to congratulate their friends and relatives, on their home land line.
Now that ones and zeros, yeses and nos have for many become the most valuable fuel, Malena Zambrani shows us the sources of what we pompously call "information". What is her starting point? A situation that might sound like a joke: the compulsive congratulatory calls of a mother and her son, addicted to the telephone, on what might be the peak of their addiction: Christmas Eve. Festive symbolism triumphs, with everything it mobilises in terms of sentiments. There's a climate that the film successfully captures, in a tone of laughter but not mocking, rather a kind of joy and joviality (a rare, difficult register to achieve). The topic of the film, recreational telephoning, so to speak, may seem capricious as much as subversive, as the film succeeds in showing, without any solemnity and without saying it as such, how far in recent decades the privatisation of the telephone has become the core of our domination and servitude. This can be seen off-centre, or even better in the mirror. The film wittily, subtly focuses on what to others might seem imperceptible or trivial. The thing about mirrors is that they invert what doesn't seem to be inverted: the telephone Baby and Julio abuse so much is no longer today's telephone; its antiquated uses might seem even more immoderate than our own (they call more people, further away, and nobody ever manages to talk to them -they're always "engaged"). Calls for them always go in a centrifugal spiral, from their house to the world. Seeing this in the mirror makes us stop and think. The narrow space in the hall with the little table for the telephone is for Malena nothing less than what the South Seas or the pole were for Flaherty or Murnau.