"...you see people as themselves. The fact that these women have come such a long way in realising their dream is moving people and encouraging them to watch it"
- Philip Cheah, Festival Director (Singapore Int'l Film Festival) on the popularity of the documentary

About the Documentary

One of the few documentaries ever made about lesbians in Singapore, this documentary, filmed in 2006 uses interview footage with three Singaporean lesbians -Amanda Lee, Sabrina Renee Chong and Gea Swee Jean, to get a rare glimpse into lesbian lives in Singapore.

Intimate and often candid, these lesbians share about their lives and loves and their views on topics such as coming out and relationships. Sometimes heartbreaking, and often times, funny, the documentary captures the lives of lesbians who have chosen to live authentically and is a testament to the courage, tenacity and experiences of lesbians living in Singapore.

For more information, to join the mailing list or to RSVP for screenings, please email womenwholovewomensingapore@yahoo.com

Watch the Documentary Here!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Review by Alicia

I am one of the lucky ones who managed to catch Women who love Women: Conversations in Singapore on its third screening. On that day at Bianco, there was the usual pre-screening excitement in the air. I have been to a few lesbian-themed screenings, and it is always crowded with girls and feels like everybody is anticipating something. Maybe it’s because we are so deprived in Singapore. Whatever it is, I just like that feeling of a whole community of women sharing a common space and concentrating on a common thing.

Su-Lin, the producer gave a brief introduction and the screening started without a fuss. The directing and production was simple and basic and suited the subject matter, allowing for focus to be on the interviewees and their conversations. It was very engaging and did not feel like it ran for 65 minutes; and actually that is my only complaint, that it was too short J.

What I really liked about the documentary was its honesty. There was an absolute absence of the producer’s and director’s voice and that allowed the conversations to flow without judgement. The topics raised were plentiful and I think it would be fun if there were spin-offs based on the topics raised.

The interviewees were allowed space and time to tell their stories and it was clear that they felt confident and open with the interviewer and May Ling behind the camera to be able to share whatever they felt like sharing. The conversations were smooth and I did not feel that the interviewees were directed to say the ‘right’ things. There’s a saying that says if you can’t see the work that was done, lots of work must have been done. Given the flow of the entire documentary, I would think that a lot of production work, i.e. good editing and organisation must have been done so that the conversations that were screened were coherent and connected.

The interviewees were well chosen. The interviewees, Swee Jean, Sabrina and Amanda were positive examples for lesbians in Singapore. They showed that they had thought hard and deep about the issues about being gay and out in Singapore. They were not afraid to talk about their family and friends, their relationships and partners, and even sex. Because of their candidness and spontaneity, there were many light-hearted moments, easing what might have been heavy topics.

The Q&A was interesting. People were open with questions and most wanted to find out what was the impact of the documentary and if there are plans for more similar productions. We need more stories, and documentaries.

A documentary it might have been, but it was entertaining and informative. It is also long overdue. Ten percent and more of any population in the world, including Singapore are homosexuals, but we have hitherto been silent. And everyday that passes us by is another day of history and pride that we lose. There are stories out there waiting…

The documentary is a significant contribution to the lesbian community in Singapore because: not only is it the first to document in film the lesbian experience in Singapore, it also represents the first time lesbians are declaring their hitherto invisible and misunderstood lives as women who love women in Singapore. We have a life, a real one, filled with love, laughter and learning - our real-life L word. :)


Review by Peter Goh

Most viewers may come in thinking lesbians are just women who love other women, as the title suggests. The documentary, however reveals the whole person of a lesbian in her unique complexity beyond sexual attraction to other women. The multi-faceted and seemingly fluid nature of a lesbian’s self-identity comes through quite strongly in all three stories. Perplexing that may be to the uninitiated and prime fodder even for the unconverted, there is no attempt to water-down or conceal that which is characteristically true of many lesbians. In using real human faces and voices, this is a brave and honest attempt to expand the collective understanding of women who love other women.

Peter Goh

Review by Tania Chew

"WOMEN who LOVE WOMEN: Conversations in Singapore" is warm, funny and poignant all at once. The conversations struck me as deeply honest - sometimes even raw - and that's what makes them real. There were little parts of myself and my own experiences that I identified with and I wouldn't be surprised if others do too. This isn't just for or about women who love women. It's about self discovery and about loving yourself and being true to yourself. I'd recommend it to anyone.

Tania Chew

Review by Nizhen Hsieh

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

-- Anais Nin

When American dramedy “Ally McBeal” first hit the screens, it was all the rage until one particular episode – the female protagonist has a dream about kissing her colleague who is of the same gender. It sparked such an outrage that the then Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) went as far as to scrub the episode off prime time completely. Their defense? “As a responsible broadcaster, we are very careful to monitor and take action against overtly sexy or alternative themes.”

In a country that deems homosexuality as a genetic variation or idiosyncracy that goes against the supposed moral majority, it’s no surprise that something as mundane as a fleeting fantasy would provoke such an extreme measure. But as feminist philosopher, Judith Butler, once optimistically declared, the existence of the unspeakable ‘other’ isn’t pure exteriority, rather, it stands as a notion of futurity – the ‘not yet’. In other words, it potentially “constitutes the limit that actively contests what we already comprehend and already are…”

Women Who Loves Women may not have brought anything new to the table in terms of the issues and struggles that the gay community has dealt with hitherto. But it reinforces the very real existence of these issues and extends the rainbow coloured spectrum to include the most often absent lesbian perspective. Homosexuality for a long time has been mainly a ‘male’ point of contention, that even within this alternative space, it is defined conceptually on a patriarchal level.

Women Who Loves Women is no dramatized or histrionic flight of fancy. It has enough balls to dish the dirt and like any woman, derives strength from her own vulnerability. It takes responsibility in acknowledging that decriminalization begins when we stop policing ourselves.

A much-needed dialogue that elevates self-reconciliation above social acceptance, it is first and foremost a coming out that steers away from guilty confession to instead a human portrayal of three women’s evolutionary process and the renewed hope of what could be.

Nizhen Hsieh