Witnessing a moment of romance in the park, a Malay woman projects her own fantasies of an ideal relationship with her partner.
As she seeks approval to a man off screen, her fantasy turns to desperation. She is seen is caged in a car, fighting back her tears.
As she drives off, another parallel story about a Malay woman begins. It’s a stark contrast — she is part of a biker group, similarly clad in headdress and feminine pastels.
These two Muslim women are portrayed to live in a conservative environment — the head scarf is an indication, and so is conspicuously dating in a public space.
That they are Muslim may have its novelty, but it’s beside the point. Nor is this an absurdist film.
The synopsis reads: “These women are daughters, who have their hearts broken over and over in the process of love.” Then they become mothers.
Does this cycle repeat itself?
‘Daughters’ was commissioned by the 36th Rotterdam Film Festival, as part of the ‘Meet the Masestro Gus Van Sant’ programme.
Seng Tat’s film is part of the Asian Film Archive channel on Viddsee.
Here’s another from that brilliant collection, ‘Motherland’ by Sherman Ong, an interview with a Mainland Chinese woman who fell in love a Singaporean man old enough to be her father.