In Indonesia there are men who believe that they are born with the soul of a woman. These men are known as Waria's. The term is an amalgamation of two Indonesian words: "Wanita" (woman) and "Pria" (man). As a group, the Waria’s are very diverse. The term "Waria" includes what we know in the West as cross-dressers, transsexuals, homosexuals, transvestites and feminine men. What binds the Waria's, is an on-repressible female spirit. Sisca is a 42-year Waria and lives in Singaraja. Singaraja is an old Dutch colonial town in the Buleleng region; the northern province of Bali. Sisca is the head of the "Warga's, a group of Waria's located on the island. She represents the interests of the gay and Waria in her area.
Sisca marches the streets along with the other Warga’s for an anti-AIDS campaign.
She does everthing to protect her group and give them a place in society and fights for their freedom. She the host of several LGBT conferences, she leads anti-AIDS campaignes and provides sexual information sessions in secondary schools. She has had serveral beauty salons calles ‘Sisca’, she works as a nurse in a hospital helping AIDS patients and was an au pair at several families in the Netherlands. She is also a dancer, and regularly gives solo (street) performances as well as together with the Warga’s. With her ritualistic dances she can show and express who she is in a visual way.
In the film we see Sisca, who dares to authentically express herself, and the strength it takes her to do so. We follow her in her fragile inner struggle and and all the setbacks she encounters, while on the other hand we see her fierce character. She is constantly confronted with her being "different" and wants a "normal" life as a woman. She thinks this would make her life a lot easier; She would have equal rights, it would be easier to get a job, to be accepted by her parents-in-law and perhaps most importantly; She would fully accept herself for the first time. Sisca says she wants nothing more than the sex change surgery, but somehow she still seems unsure about how well her life will really change after surgery. Chances are she will lose some of her (male) power when the operation is completed, a power she often uses. It will affect the relationship with her boyfriend, and the surgery has quite some health risks; a lot could go wrong during or after the operation. Eventually she would like a man who loves her for who she is after the operation, but can she find him? Why is it that if she wants this surgery so badly, she dind’t already have one? Why does her perseverance also fail? Does is instill fear? With this film, I want to examine the human capability to , regardless of adversity, fight to be who you most deeply feel that you are inside.
The film shows snippets of Sisca’s life that together portray her life before the operation. We see sisca who comes across as an eccentric, flamboyant woman with a strong and distinct personality. Because she’s so open about being different, she sets an example for the Warga's, that’s her own transgender group, and others in the LGBT community. We see her performing as a dancer, helping customers in her beauty salon, as a nurse in the hospital helping AIDS and marching the streets with the Warga’s for anti-AIDS campaigns. We also see Sisca at home, taking care of her adopted child like a real mother, we see her alone in her room, on the streets of Singaraja or we see her together with her boyfriend; we see her vulnerable side. So, the film shows two sides of Sisca: Her Warga life and her normal everyday life.
Mood Board of the Picture Style (Sisca is not seen in this mood board)
At the same time the environment of Singaraja plays a important role in the film, and will be shown in a poetic and rhythmic manner. Think of the tropical rains, Hindu's who pray and sacrifice for an altar, the graceful rituallistic dances of the Warga’s and other rituals are perfect for a visual spectacle.
Motivation of the filmmaker
I have always felt attracted to people who dare to express themselves in extreme and unique way. Especially when it comes to authentic people who are not always appreciated by everyone and have difficulty finding their place in society. Sincerity and authenticity I find little in our western society, where everyone is uncertain, has multiple agenda's, but also yearns for love and intimacy. The courage and strength that a person can have to expose themselves for who they are is something I yearn for myself. It’s the reason why I became a filmmaker. I want to make a film about a style of life which is regularly judged by others. A style of life that is not always understood. Our society often unaccepting of anything or anyone different than ourselves. I hope this film shows that there should be room for "others" in society, that everyone is accepted, in whatever way they also feel obliged to manifest themselves.
Running time 25 to 30 minutes