A Toronto Teen Just Made One of the Definitive Works of Art About Lockdown
Liv McNeil's "Numb" has got a shoutout from Sarah Polley
Published Jun 19, 2020The pandemic has gone on for long enough that we're starting to see plenty of works of art inspired by lockdown, including albums from Charli XCX, the Mountain Goats, Adrian Glynn, Chromeo and more. Here's another essential addition to the growing canon of coronavirus art: a short film called "Numb" by Toronto ninth grader Liv McNeil.
At just three minutes in length, the film documents the feelings of depression and isolation that can come with life during physical distancing. It begins with a slow sense of sadness, but it grows with an intensity that cleverly conveys both the passage of time and the repetitive routine of lockdown. It's appropriately soundtracked by M83's climactic "My Tears Are Becoming a Sea."
It was written by, directed by and stars the 15-year-old McNeil herself, and it's earned at least one very notable fan: Sarah Polley. The Canadian actor and filmmaker tweeted that the short was a "masterpiece" and called it the "best film I've seen in a long time."
Speaking with Toronto Life about "Numb," McNeil said, "I was making a lot of art in quarantine, and I knew I wanted to do something related to the idea of how isolation affects mental health. My teacher gave us a prompt for an assignment, something like: 'I used to be, but now I am, and someday I hope to be.' I just thought, I could go anywhere with this. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to make something about the feeling of isolation. I've definitely felt numb and sad about quarantine, but I know isolation has been affecting people in different ways. This is just what I know from my experience."
Watch the powerful film below. It was posted on Wednesday (June 17) and already has over 36,000 views, as of press time.