No Dialing Back: “Denise Calls Up”

The first scene has a woman named Gail on the phone with a woman named Linda, apologizing for missing Linda’s recent party and asking how many people attended.  Linda replies that there was none who attended.  The party was a total bust.  This because, in Hal Salwen‘s gentle satire Denise Calls Up (1996), there are no longer in-the-flesh contacts and relationships; people are busy and do everything over the phone.  They even make love over the phone except, well, this is no lovemaking—or sex—at all.  But they don’t know that!  They have settled for the absence of the ordinary human encounters they wish to avoid or simply have no time for.  Or they refuse to make time.  Even the donation of sperm to an anonymous woman who wants to get pregnant is the equivalent of an over-the-wire service.  Predictably, it is over the phone that the donor becomes acquainted with the anonymous woman (she’s the Denise who one day calls up the donor).

Salwen’s film is witty and shrewd as well as competently directed and, by Gary Sharfin, edited.

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