Appropriately Inappropriate: Our Review of ‘Please Hold The Line’

Posted in What's Streaming? by - September 07, 2022
Appropriately Inappropriate: Our Review of ‘Please Hold The Line’

Communications as an industry can feel either like a one way or a two way street. I can say this since I have my day job at that industry. Anyway, Pavel Cuzuioc’s full length documentary Please Hold The Line, at the first part shows the one way part of that industry. It depicts days within the lives of four groups of technical support workers from four different Eastern European countries – Bulgaria, Moldova, Romania, and the Ukraine. The documentary at least lets its viewers see a few houses where the tech guys stay in longer and then a few more through montages. Those montages show us different TVs, equipment and setups. Many things we see on screen indicate class, but the documentary doesn’t make it a rule. It also shows different versions of what these people consider their home. Or more specifically, that yes, it’s ok for adults to have toys.

These technicians come in when something breaks down or when customers want services, obviously. But sometimes, the technicians stay in the customers’ houses long enough that viewers might not even remember why they had to come in in the first place, which is surprisingly a good thing. Scenes organically evolve from professional checkups to moderate drinking sessions, which seems customary to Eastern European countries, a scary yet welcome difference from North American coldness. Or maybe that sounds unfair. I’ve had conversations outside workplace topics with customers, but I’ll probably forget about those conversations tomorrow. Here, because a camera is recording anything, these conversations between technicians and customers about politics and art feel more intimate. The camera also captures these customers without judgment. But come to think of it, these participants are normal enough even if they’re politicking and showing off things like their paintings that borrow from the Orthodox style.

Some scenes in Please Hold The Line don’t have the technicians on screen. Instead, it lets customers talk about complexities of contemporary technology. One participant drops his cellphone to make the point that newer cellphones are more brittle than their older counterparts. I’m not as old as this specific participant but I’m old enough to remember having Nokia phones that can survive world wars. And I’m alive today when a raindrop can fritz the phone whose brand I will not name. Boomer musings, have a ring to them, sorry for the pun. That’s regardless of whether they’re on whatever side of the Iron Curtain. Perhaps Cuzuioc captures and affirms those truisms and make them come across as truths. Or I can relate to real old people as opposed to youths. There are all on the foreground in countries where exposed wiring is normal, and where people depend on such wires.

Please Hold The Line comes to OVID on September 7.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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