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also known as Le fantôme de l'opératrice

The Phantom of the Operator2004

  • 4.0
This wry and delightful documentary reveals a little-known chapter in labor history: the story of female telephone operators' central place in the development of global communications. With an eye for the quirky and humorous, Caroline Martel assembles a dazzling array of clips (more than one hundred remarkable, rarely seen industrial, advertising and scientific management films produced in North America between 1903 and 1989 by Bell and Western Electric) and transforms them into a dreamlike montage documentary.

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2 members like this review

Haunting. Fascinating. Mesmerizing.

Member Reviews (3)

Haunting. Fascinating. Mesmerizing.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

An absolutely spellbinding window on a time machine fast-forwarding through eighty years of attitudes towards women in the workplace and of visions of technical progress.

Hundreds of hours of the most mundane material is refined-down so the viewer can concretely experience stereotypes and values from the past. It’s a documentary of Zeitgeist, not facts.

It would have been even more powerful without the narrative, which adds little information or effect. Nevertheless, this movie is a knockout.

top reviewer

Brilliant stock footage. I enjoyed the poetic license and pacing of this film, as opposed to dry, purely factual rendering.