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Film review: While you weren't looking

2015-10-05 12:29

While You Weren’t Looking

Director: Catherine Stewart

Starring: Thishiwe Ziqubu,

Petronella Tshuma

A new film, While You Weren’t Looking, created by LGBTQi film initiative Out In Africa, is an incisive look at different levels of privilege in South Africa’s queer community.

The story follows the overlapping lives of a group of gay and lesbian characters living in Cape Town. There is Greg Mack, a white Jewish university professor who pines for Joe, who he took in for a short time during apartheid and had an interracial relationship with.

Decades on, he wants to reconnect with Joe, who is now a successful albeit conflicted businessman with a wife and son.

Married mixed-race lesbian couple Terri and Dez live in a large house in up-market Cape Town, and Terri is starting to suspect that Dez is cheating on her.

But the most interesting plot line revolves around “Tommy Boy” Shado, a young black lesbian who lives in Khayelitsha. Shado meets Terri and Dez’s adopted daughter, Asanda, in a club and they start a relationship.

But Shado’s experience in the townships is worlds apart from Asanda’s privileged lifestyle and the film climaxes when their radically different worlds collide violently.

By investigating the queer experience for not just the white middle class, but all strata of South Africa’s landscape, While You Weren’t Looking has created a slice-of-life look at South Africa’s LGBTQi community – where being gay or transgender may be legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s an easy way of life.

Beautifully shot and with powerful performances from all the cast, this is compulsory watching.

While You Weren’t Looking releases on the Cinema Nouveau circuit at Rosebank, Brooklyn, Gateway, Maponya Mall and the Cape Town’s Labia Theatre this weekend

November 17 2019