As we collectively count down the days until we can safely enjoy post-vaccination visits with friends and family, a delightful animation has a comforting message for those of us struggling to reign in our anxiety: “If this disruption undoes you, if the absence of people unravels you…lean into loneliness and know you’re not alone in it.”
A collaboration between poet Tanya Davis and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, “How to Be at Home” plucks some of the same scenarios from the duo’s wildly popular “How to Be Alone”—watch the 2010 film on YouTube and pick up the illustrated book from Bookshop—and translates them into quarantine terms fit for 2020: where benches and public transit once were spaces ripe for interaction, they’re now hazards to be avoided, and a lunch-time scroll through your phone is no longer a distraction but a welcome way to stay connected.
The animated scenes emerge from the pages of a book, an emblem closely associated with solitude, through a mix of live footage and stop-motion techniques. Set to the dulcet rhythms of Davis’s poem, the short film flows through ubiquitous pandemic activities like home yoga, watching long films (including all the credits!), and solo dance parties and reminds us how we’re all bound together even when we’re physically apart.
“How to Be at Home” is one of 30 pandemic-themed films created through The Curve, a platform supported by the National Film Board of Canada. To see more of Dorfman’s illustrations and animations, check out her Instagram and Vimeo. You also might enjoy Gemma Green-Hope’s animated portrait of her grandmother.