We've long believed that little things matter -- especially during times of change, stress, and fear. For some really meaningful and touching pandemic fare, we want to recommend some short films, all available on YouTube.
The National Film Board of Canada has found gifted filmmakers to immerse themselves in the challenges of living in these perilous times with hope, patience, and perseverance. The result is a remarkable series called "The Curve." Here's how they describe it:
"The Curve is the pulse of the nation, beating in its own time during this unprecedented time. Our creators, with their talent and insight, are bringing to life the voices of Canadians touched by COVID-19, both near and far."
The collection includes documentary, animation, and digitally storytelling formats. It is presented on the website under six themes:
- Lights, Camera, Pivot!: Three directors employ a range of cinematic techniques to craft stylish and thoughtful reflections on the COVID-19 experience.
- The Big Reset: Here are some animated bedtime stories for budding rebels in a post-COVID world.
- Body and Soul: These inspiring, insightful, and wildly inventive works explore the physical and emotional aspects of pandemic isolation.
- From Where I Am: Four young filmmakers defy cliched representations of their communities while navigating the uncharted waters of a global health emergency.
- Wide Shots and Close-ups: Distinct voices, speaking from different points on the COVID-19 map, enhance our understanding of the pandemic experience.
- Ruptures and Enlightenment: As old systems and attitudes crumble, artists muse on the impact and creative potential of disruption.
We discovered this series when we came upon "How to Be at Home." Andrea Dorfman has directed, animated, and edited a poem by Tanya Davis; it's in the "Body and Soul" section of the Curve. We invite you to take five minutes to experience it now.
Many moments in this short film speak to our own experience of staying home during the pandemic -- discomfort, lack of focus, messaging friends and family because we can't visit, missing eating out. But there are ways to cope. Need a hug? Go outside and hug a tree. Missing community? Watch all the credits at the end of a movie and remember how many people have come together to tell that story and make it move.
And then there are these lines, vivid reminders of the spiritual practice of unity:
"the disaster is that we believe we're separate
As evidenced by viruses taking down societies . . .
"If this disruption undoes you
if the absence of people unravels you
if touch was the tether that held you together
and now that it's severed you're fragile too
lean into loneliness and know you're not alone
lean into loneliness like it is holding you
like a generous representative of a glaring truth
oh, we are connected
we forget this, yet we always knew."
There are other powerful films in this series. We watched all the films in "Lights, Camera, Pivot" section.
"In the Garden on the Farm" is about filmmaker Kristin Catherwood's return home to live and work the farm in Saskatchwan where she grew up. After her decision to plant a vegetable garden, her father reminds her that her mother did the same. That's a connection enabled by the pandemic.
"K'i Tah Amongst the Birch" focuses on filmmaker Melaw Nakehk'o's delight in escaping the pandemic by going camping with her family in a remote spot in the Northwest Territories. She is moved to tears of gratitude to the little blessings of listening to the wind and watching the sun glide by in the sky.
In "Thursday" we move along with filmmaker Galen Johnson as he walks and then runs through Winnnipeg's sidewalks and streets. When he begins this ritual, silence envelops the city, but it doesn't take long before noise dominates the familiar shops and buildings he passes in his personal pilgrimage
For some blessed people, the pandemic has turned out to be a transformative experience. These short films give us examples to be emulated.