It is 2007, and lesbian sexual relations have received de facto legitimacy with the repeal of section 377 of the penal code. The gay community in
It is 2007. Three more talking heads come out on film. Will we remember them?
Amanda, one of the women interviewed in the film, wraps her tongue around Women who love women (WWLW) and explains it as a gentler acronym for “lesbian”, because “nobody can fault love”. At the time of this review, WWLW has been shown at festivals in Hong Kong and KL, but only in private screenings in
With each screening, the room gets more and more crowded. When I first saw WWLW in July 2007 in tiny Bianco, I sat with somebody else’s knee jammed in my back, the seating was so tight. At the film’s sixth screening at Mox this December, men and women who had no seats lined the room and stood throughout its 60 Mins. They’d heard about this film, and they wanted to see for themselves. So 80-odd packed into the room to get intimate with the bubbly Amanda (24), androgynous Sabrina (40) and puckish Swee Jean (24).
Many lesbians I have spoken to identify deeply with the women in the film. Many other lesbians do not. But the faces and words of WWLW remain with you after the film is over, because of the honesty with which they are given. Lounging in luminous sitting rooms or drawing you into the privacy of their homes and childhood photographs, the three tell you what being lesbian is to them. It is first loves, coming out trauma, "it's always full and fulfilling .. it's like second skin" (Sabrina). It is toilet evictions, and label-mad
When you come out of the closet, your family and friends walk into a bigger closet with you. A rare and refreshing feature of this documentary is the other side of the coming out story, from straight friends of Amanda and Swee Jean. It is a touching moment when Amanda and her best friend declare that their friendship doesn't change even though they don't agree on how God sees gay people. Swee Jean's chums tell how they rallied around her in her coming out school days.
But this labour of love is at times laborious – my sympathies to the folks in standing room. In a bid to preserve the authenticity of the dialogue, the raw-edged editing ambles on past the average attention span, interspersed with unnecessary, stuffy quotes from Andre Gide and Sappho. Shot in the months before the repeal of Section 377 of the Penal Code (which could be interpreted as criminalising sex between women), the film jolts from personal anecdotes into a draggy spiel on statutory discrimination.
Nonetheless, WWLW will be an important document of