Watching You: Intriguing Lesbian Short Films

Gasp! Lesbian comedies that are… wait for it… FUNNY?!?!?
Our Rating

Genre(s): Gay/Lesbian, Drama, Comedy

Director: Sam Backhurst, Deborah Strutt, Cassandra Nicolaou, Stephanie Abramovich, Katherine Brooks, Lee Friedlander

Actors: Diane Flacks, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Cara Pifko

Year: 2003

MPAA Rating: NR

Country: UK / Australia / USA / Israel

Maybe the filmmakers have to build up to making a laugh out loud feature, but I have to say that several of the shorts on this DVD collection of award-winning international lesbian short films are funnier than the vast majority of lesbian “comedies” that a hungry film-niche has been blessed (cursed?) with.

In fact, there isn’t a stinker on this DVD, and that is saying something. I normally don’t trust an accolade that says a film won “Best Whatever at the Podunk Film Festival”, but most of these films were very good, and some were downright great.

The compilation starts out with the best of the bunch, a 14-minute British film called 4 p.m. A voiceover by a confident businesswoman narrates her previous afternoon’s conquest: a hot little number that she trailed after all the suits spilled out of their office buildings, and successfully brought home for some good lovin’. The morning after the one night stand, our heroine rushes off to work, and the tables (and the film’s attention) flip-flops—we now share the shock of the other woman waking up and finding out that she has accidentally been locked into this stranger’s apartment. With brisk storytelling, appealing actors, and a wonderful twist, 4 p.m. is one great little film. Heck, I watched it twice in one sitting!

I also enjoyed Interviews with My Next Girlfriend, which plays with lesbian stereotypes to great effect in the style of straight-faced “mockumentary” sit-down interviews like Best in Show or A Mighty Wind. The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide is also very cute, though it somehow seems overly polished, and suffers a bit from too many in-jokes (this one probably won’t have much of a cross-over audience).

But the films included on Watching You are not all comedies. The title film is a gently appealing drama from Israel, and Traveling Companion (watch for an appearance by Sex and the City‘s Kristin Davis!) is one of those earnestly pleasant getting-over-a-loss-to-find-new-love stories that lesbians writers and filmmakers love to churn out. But that’s OK I suppose… the target audience will probably eat it up.

Overall, Watching You is definitely an above-average collection. When you see the quality of many of these films, you can’t help but bemoan the fact that these films hardly ever find an audience outside of genre film festivals. Check this one out!

The DVD contains the following shorts:

4 p.m. (Dir. Sam Backhurst, UK), Bare (Dir Deborah Strutt, Australia, 9min), Interviews with My Next Girlfriend (Dir. Cassandra Nicolaou, Canada), Watching You (Dir. Stephanie Abramovich, Israel), Dear Emily (Dir. Katherine Brooks, USA), The Ten Rules: A Lesbian Survival Guide (Dir Lee Friedlander, USA), Traveling Companion (Dir. Paula Goldberg, USA), Double Entente (Dir. Jacquie Lawrence, UK)


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