Culture

This Short Film About The Circle Game Is Australia’s Greatest Work Of Art

You lose.

Has there ever been any victory as sweet as catching out your mates with the circle game? The feeling of triumph as they realise that you have outplayed them for the thousandth time? The look of frustration in their eyes, tinged with just a hint of fear, as they resigned themselves to yet another punching? For once they see the circle, there’s nothing that can be done. Those are the rules of the circle game, and the rules must be respected.

For the homeschooled among you, the laws of the circle game are simple. Simple, but ironclad. The player makes a circle with their ring and index finger and holds it below their waist. They then attempt to trick their intended target into looking directly at the circle. Often this involves subterfuge and mind-games or saying “hey look at this” when their poor unsuspecting friend isn’t paying attention. If said friend looks at the circle…oh boy, is it ever punching time!

But there is a rub, by which the victim can turn the tables on the player by swiftly inserting their finger into the hole. At that point, oh sweet irony, the puncher becomes the punched. That was the thrill of the circle game, you see. The knowledge that at any moment the whole thing can be flipped on its head.

So vital is the circle game to schoolyard hierarchy and social fabric that it was only a matter of time before it was immortalised on film. Enter Melbourne-based short filmmaker Jesse Vogelaar, whose tribute to the circle game is every bit as glorious as the circle game itself. Thank you, Jesse. And godspeed.