Are You Still Watching?
Animation, 6 min
In the midst of Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown, Jamie finds reprieve from the monotony of isolation through their imagination, sensuality and some help from iconic onscreen queer characters.
Quirky and downright weird, Are You Still Watching? is an amalgamate of desires and queer cinema, of fantasies and cold reality
Of the short films in this year’s Wicked Queer film festival, Are You Still Watching? (dir. Alex Cardy, Kitty Chrystal, Tali Polichtuk) is definitely up there with the more experimental of the lot. Making use of the creative liberties offered by its animated format, the film lies somewhere in the boundaries between the real and the oneiric. It’s not rare for viewers to ask themselves “Wait, did that just…?” or “Is that…?”. Reality here is familiar yet discomforting. It’s both recognizable and bizarre. In short, it’s the reality of living in lockdown for a year.
The six minute film portrays the experiences of Jamie, a non-binary twenty-something-year-old, struggling to keep themself entertained during Melbourne’s COVID-19 lockdown. Sarcastic and witty, they are also perpetually horny, finding opportunities for sex in everyday moments such as walking their dog or even baking French pastries (they are very specific in that it has to be French). The scenes would be comical if they weren’t so familiar: who hasn’t mindlessly tapped through countless Tinder profiles or wound up fantasizing about a fictional character? Despite the film’s surreal nature, it’s in Jamie’s hunger for human contact that most viewers – particularly those living alone – will recognize a very tangible part of their own experiences during the pandemic. This is especially striking when the sound of Cardi B’s “Coronavirus! Shit is real!” reverberates over the dissonant music in a psychedelic sequence, reminding us that it’s been over a year since we first giggled at the singer’s reaction.
Yet despite this evident need for human contact, Jamie does not appear to suffer. They seem to relish in their hallucinations, finding them euphemistically “rather pleasant.” Their queer imagination allows them to explore unexpected avenues, ones which can lead to Sarah Paulson penetrating them erotically with a PCR test swab or Cate Blanchett dominating them in an S&M attire. More than simple escapism, there is a freedom in Jamie’s exploration of their own isolation that allows for a richer experience of their own sexuality.
Quirky and downright weird, Are You Still Watching? is an amalgamate of desires and queer cinema, of fantasies and cold reality. It’s a film that demands to be seen various times, but that in turn, rewards its viewers with new insight every time they return.
Make sure you don’t miss Are You Still Watching? and other films like it in this year’s Wicked Queer film festival!
The Techy bit
To find out more about the cast, crew, genre and where you can get this film, check out the LesFlicks Film Database.
This article was written by:
Isidora has written for various student papers, offering articles from film reviews to opinion pieces that often had Latin American cultural events or productions as the focus of the piece.
She has just graduated from her MPhil in Comparative Literatures from the University of Cambridge, and will be going on to do her PhD in Hispanic Studies in Toronto.