STOP10 Oct 2017: 'Woman at Home' by Megan Wonowidjoyo

We all know that women have it hard in this world. Even more so for mothers and housewives who arduously manage the endless chores at home, all for the sake of providing a place for the family to rest and seek respite. Woman At Home delineates this dreary and almost eternal lifestyle of a housewife; she cooks, cleans, washes, teaches, irons, sweeps, muses etc., with the routine process repeating every single day.

The entire film draws you in with its monotonous yet sombre melody. Each scene portrays the housewife performing her duties listlessly. She isn’t fazed by her obligations, neither does she show any contempt, but her pale countenance seems devoid of life and colour, probably a result of her everyday toil. The director has also interestingly inserted several superimpositions of kitchenware as a backdrop as if to tell its viewers the impossibility of a housewife in escaping from the shackles of housework. Just like the translucent grey blouse fervently swaying in the breeze, as if yearning to fly away, it eventually stops as it is held securely by a hanger. Gradually, the promise of a marriage wanes into a life of melancholy and commitment.

Communication also appears to be a recurring motif. Throughout the film, there is no dialogue, only snapshots of messages between the housewife and her husband. In the end, the husband leaves her, despite the effort that she has invested in conserving the household. Watching the film may leave viewers rather despondent about the life of a housewife and essentially women at home. With such normative obligations tied to a woman, it is indisputable that gender norms today still perpetuate a patriarchal society. However, I do hope that men who have watched this film can at least empathise with the amount of stress and work it takes to manage a household.

Yet, the film is nowhere near as strong as the message that it is trying to embody. The shortcoming of this film does not lie with the story it tells but rather in its execution. It almost seems student-like (and lazy) to superimpose so many scenes with other images of kitchenware and condiments etc. What is perhaps meant to be a critique of the demanding lifestyle of a housewife has led me to simply feel sorry for her plight. In addition, the continuous scenes of her tepid lifestyle are repetitive and excessive. I believe it would have been better if the film was more 3-dimensional, instead of blatantly showing the chores that she does and the electronic messages of her husband (A call would have at least been better!)

All in all, I believe the film was decent, albeit it needs some work if it really wishes to push the boundaries of women in film.         

Screening details:
26 October 2017, Thursday, 7.30pm
Objectifs Centre
Women at Home is part of Objectifs’ annual Women in Film and Photography programme.

For more information about the programme and full list of films:

For the third edition of Women in Film, Objectifs features the voices and verve of women in an arena that has been traditionally dominated by men. In celebrating the achievements of women working in the film industry, this edition of the programme highlights the career of Kiki Sugino, a versatile director, producer and actress hailed as a “muse of Asian indie cinema”, alongside a selection of groundbreaking feature-length and short films from Europe, the United States and Singapore.

Women in Film is part of Objectifs’ annual Women in Film and Photography showcase. The programme celebrates extraordinary and groundbreaking works by women photographers and filmmakers, highlighting the important contributions that women make to the arts.

Tickets are available at $8 per screening session on a first-come-first-served basis. To purchase tickets, please click on this link.
Limited tickets are also available at the door.

Written by Christine Seow

For the full list of October 2017's 10 films under STOP10, click here.
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