Starring – Qyoko Kudo, Tomoko Hayakawa
Directed by Hamish Downie
I was reminiscing with my wife recently about the not so good ole days of when the only lesbians you could watch in your entertainment choices were Xena and Gabrielle and Willow and Tara. Besides that, there was just nothing to watch with lesbians in them and even with the sparse fare we were given back in the late 1990s-early 2000s, two of those four lesbians were all about subtext, so they were displayed to the world-at-large as being just really, really, really, really, really good friends…
Xena and Gabrielle were just really good friends…just like Laverne and Shirley were just really good friends…
But anyway, even after all this time since those not so good ole days, we lesbians are still pretty much MIA in entertainment. At least from what I’ve been watching out there in the endless unknown universe of entertainment options that are now available in this now very, very confusing modern age of technology, so I could be missing films and TV shows with us lesbians in it, because I just can’t keep up with TV and movies anymore, there’s just too many of them. But anyway, as far as I can figure out, there still isn’t much out there with lesbians in it. I still find myself searching, searching, searching for something with lesbians in it and mostly coming up with bupkis.
Even with this website, filmmakers email me their films all the time to review (which is a dream come true), but 98% of the movies that are sent to me are either gay-themed or trans-themed. Not a lesbian film in sight, pretty much. I don’t know why this is with the lack of lesbians in our entertainment options, but that has been my experience from the professional end in the film world and as just an everyday viewer.
So, maybe this still severe lack of lesbians in entertainment is why the film Silence has been throwing me for a loop and haunting me for days, as I keep trying to come up with something to say about this powerful short film about domestic violence between a lesbian couple, but instead it keeps leaving me speechless.
Silence is less than 5 minutes long, but it is such a powerfully emotional film, that by the time it was too quickly over, I knew that I had finally found an oasis in the middle of the desert that has been feeling like lesbian entertainment options to me lately. Silence is the lesbian film that I have been looking for in my email as a writer and in my entertainment options as a viewer for quite some time.
Silence is about a lesbian couple as one of them tries to escape the relationship because she is being abused physically, and also probably emotionally, mentally and verbally too, by her partner. Silence is a silent film, an art form that seems to be coming back through independent filmmakers, and I’m liking this art comeback, because with no words, only music and visuals, all I could do as a viewer was watch as this couple first pretends that nothing is wrong, everything is picture perfect, but then we get an inside view of their lives and we find out that in actuality, everything is broken and falling apart. The picture perfect couple are in fact anything but. With only visuals and music to go by, we, the audience, can only sit there and wonder what the couple is talking about, until things suddenly turn violent. We don’t know why exactly. Did she catch her partner packing up her things? With no words, we aren’t given the exact explanation. We just see the violence and the manipulation and the aftermath of going back again to pretending that everything is picture perfect. Literally putting on a mask of “everything is fine.” That is until the abused partner is finally able to escape and begin again.
At less than 5 minutes long, I thought that it wouldn’t take me long to write a review for such a real and honest look at domestic violence, a subject that is all but ignored in lesbian entertainment, when we do actually get lesbian entertainment. But the silent film left me silent as I spent several days trying to grasp what this film had done to my psyche. And what it did was this; Silence finally gave me the visual I have been searching for in this #MeToo/new wave feminism movement, that it’s not just men who are awful to women. Women can be awful to women too. I should know, as a lesbian, I have experienced some pretty awful, weird, gross, abusive behavior from women that would give all those male abusers who fled the hills of Hollywood for “rehab” programs a run for their money. It’s been a sad reality to face for me, but it is a reality all the same. It’s probably why I feel no energy, no emotional necessity to stand up with these women and fight for them, because it’s women who have abused me my whole life. Not men, but women. And that is a realization that really, really, really sucks when you are a lesbian who truly loves and admires and adores women as much as I do.
And that is what art does. It can be better than any therapist, because no therapist ever got me to see this about me and my abusers – that they have been women. Probably because one of my abusers was a therapist, who yes, was a woman. Art can really reach deep inside you and make you think. That is what Silence did to me. It made me face a reality that has been orbiting around me for some time. See, you just never know how a movie will affect you, even a movie that is less than 5 minutes long. But sometimes less than 5 minutes is all you need for one hell of a powerful film.
And it’s a good thing that back in the not so good ole days, we had Xena and Gabrielle and their pseudo-friendship that was really a lesbian romance that was hardly even disguised, because since my wife and I watched Silence, we have been nostalgically binging on Xena, while we wait and wait and wait for the next lesbian film to come from somewhere in the never-ending world of confusing entertainment options.
To watch Silence, just hit play below. And for more information on the writer/director of Silence, Hamish Downie, check out his website. And I guess my wife and me won’t be searching for too long for some lesbians in the plethora of entertainment options out there, since Hamish has got another lesbian film coming out soon, so be on the lookout for Kodokushi.