On the first days of worldwide lockdowns, filmmakers from 15 different countries set up phone lines for people to leave anonymous messages from their confinement. Starting from the very beginning when the Chinese had not yet determined the origin of the virus, to the Brazilians demanding quarantine from their leaders months later; Tell Me combines hundreds of voices from around the world, during a historical moment, into a poetic documentary. It is a whirlwind of emotions crossing all boundaries of culture and nationality. A true experiment of cinema, Tell Me serves the viewer a portrait of humanity in isolation by creating a space after the tone, a void where people could leave anything they wished to be free of, crystallizing a moment in time the whole world experienced together.
The intimate talk of the film comes from China, Peru, Estonia, France, Jordania, Turkey, England, the United States, Brazil… The talk is endlessly fascinating and incredibly painful: about love, madness, stray thoughts. Someone is afraid of what will happen to the cat, if the owner gets COVID-19 and dies. Someone has not spoken to an adult in three weeks. Are they building a new Noah’s Arc somewhere, someone wonders. For someone, sex is a priority, no matter the pandemic.
As there are several directors, the film, which was shot around the world, is visually varied and rich, without feeling incoherent. The abstract visualisations, the mystical moods, the cityscapes, the everyday recordings, and archival footage paint a beautiful portrait of humanity, isolated.
Kati Juurus (translated by Inari Ylinen)