Layered & clever. Felt like a cheeky poke at people who think filmmaking is about 'getting telephoning down to a fine art', "telephoning' being another way of saying 'mastering cinematic platitudes'. Uses those devices & conventions to deconstruct their very relevance. Mocks their limits by running circles around them. Greenaway masters the tools, then uses them to skillfully dismantle the whole construct.* Respect!
"Dry cleaners who leave you with spots should be avoided like the plague." A brilliant 17 minute precursor to the 3 hour and 15 minute The Falls. Here we have an obsession with phones instead of ornithology and linguistics. Love how the stories of the various characters interconnect. "The only people who listened to him with rapt amazement were his mother and the very rare wrong numbers H.C. sometimes dialed."
The film serves as both a joke and a painting. It is thorough in both respects. 17 minutes sitting alone at home in my computer chair, I laughed out loud and lost track of myself. Oh, and I am an American viewer, so of course, Greenaway's steady stream of gloriously composed film shots, all of British phone booths, excite me.
This idiosyncratic little love letter to the public phone has an indefinite charm that ought to be lauded. Despite this, I am kept at a distance because I find the structure could not maintain the stakes for me to remain invest for the length of this short film. It is too committed to its own quirks and not enough to a complete viewing experience. Worth the attempt to watch, but it ultimately falls short.