While You Weren't Looking

DIRECTOR: Catherine Stewart

U.S. Premiere

Expected to attend: Director Catherine Stewart

Change has a way of creeping up on you while you’re not looking: the wrinkles that weren’t there before, new doubts in an old relationship, and harsh reality replacing youthful ideals. For Terri and Dez, celebrating their anniversary as their adopted daughter Asanda’s 18th birthday approaches, their once comfortable life is starting to crumble. Terri, with little to do in her well-kept Cape Town home, accidentally finds a sexy surprise from Dez, and a spark of hope for rekindling their fire replaces her listlessness—until she realizes that the real surprise is that the gift wasn’t meant for her. Dez, a former activist turned real estate developer, has lost her drive for social justice and conveniently convinces herself that displacing locals is for the greater good. In her quest to have it all, she barely notices Terri pulling away. While heteronormativity absorbs their former radical identities, their daughter becomes more aware that she isn’t in touch with her Xhosa roots. Asanda ditches her white boyfriend, takes out her weave to go natural, and finds herself intrigued by Shado, a packing masculine of center “tommy boy” who lives in Khayelitsha, a township on the edge of Cape Town, where crime and “corrective” rape are the norm. While You Weren’t Looking, produced by the Out in Africa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, examines the complexities of being gay in post-Apartheid South Africa while deftly tackling issues of class, intersectionality, and infidelity.

— Angelique Smith

This film contains graphic depictions of homophobic violence.

In Afrikaans, English, Xhosa with English subtitles.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F138

Co-presented by:
NIA Collective

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