"...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!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Review by Regina De Rozario

Despite its sparse, low-budget approach, and having been made over a year ago, 'Women Who Love Women' presents a range of complex issues that is especially timely in these months following the recent Parliamentary debates on S377A.

Although running at a little over an hour, the film manages to touch on topics such as coming out, having to 'validate' one's relationships, and reconciling one's (Christian) faith with one's sexuality. Above all, the film talks about honesty to friends and loved ones, and especially to oneself. Honesty, the film proposes, being the first step towards self-acceptance, awareness, and empowerment.

Amanda, Sabrina, and Swee Jean come across as balanced, articulate women with a lot of heart. Swee Jean especially, exudes a maturity and awareness quite remarkable for someone of her age. Sabrina brings to her conversations a sense of gravitas and resilience, while Amanda touched me the most by bravely making her vulnerability and moments of doubt apparent.

The scenes that worked best for me were the ones between Amanda and her friend. Interestingly, it was not so much their discussion, but the silent pauses and stares they exchanged that spoke volumes about the respect and friendship they shared, despite their different opinions. The other scene that moved me was when each of the women showed off their family pictures and spoke about their respective childhoods - an indication perhaps that gay people aren't just "born that way", but have grown from roots that they respect and treasure.

Having said that, the film is not perfect. One thing that struck me was the lack of voices from women of minority races. With its group of below-40, Chinese, English-speaking interviewees, the film cannot be said to be representative of Singapore's multi-racial lesbian community. I did wonder what an Indian or Malay woman, or someone who was not English-educated would have made of the film. Fortunately, there were questions 'common' to the lesbian experience for the interviewees to address. For instance, how does one find a place along the spectrum of labels from butch to femme? Does one even need to? Further to this, I was also a little disappointed that the film only managed to include comments from the interviewees' friends, but not their parents or siblings. A few opposing voices included in the mix would have also brought forth a little more tension, realism, and food for thought. On the other hand, I can understand some of the limitations the filmmakers must have had to work with.

Despite its shortcomings, 'Women Who Love Women' is no small triumph. Anyone familiar with Singapore's media policy on gay-affirmative films would understand the difficulty in putting a work like this together and bringing it to a wider audience.

I do hope that this film gets to be seen by those who need to see it, especially for the very pertinent questions it poses. Such as, how does one assert one's voice to amend misguided, misogynistic, heterosexist, or homophobic, attitudes? Despite the heightened visibility of 'the gay community' in the spotlight of the S377A debates, it is undeniable that a large majority of queer women still stand on the periphery, rendered silent because they are not acknowledged, or with their hands tied up in self-doubt. Perhaps this film can offer them a push in the right direction.

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