Filmmaker Frank van Osch travelled through Indonesia where he searched for former ‘comfort women’, together with photographer Jan Banning (World Press Photo Award 2004) and journalist Hilde Janssen. During the Second World War these women were forced to carry out sexual activities in military brothels, encampments and Japanese barracks.
A lot of ‘comfort women’ have already passed away and the ones who are still alive are now all in their ’80’s. In ‘Because we were beautiful’ a number of these women tell their story despite the taboo that is still attached to this subject. We see intimate photo sessions and sometimes painful conversations about the systematic rape, the humiliation, the fear and how this influenced their lives. To this day, this is an unread page in history for many people and these women deserve to be heard, while it is still possible for them to tell their story. A documentary full of shame, sorrow and reluctantly told life stories.
‘Because we were beautiful’ has won the award for best documentary 2011 at the Big Muddy Film Festival, Carbondale, Illinois (USA) and the first prize at the Artivist Film Festival, Los Angeles/Hollywood (USA).
‘Because we were beautiful’ has also been screened at the 2011 UNAFF (United Nations Association Film Festival, San Fransisco, USA) the 2012 Byron Bay Film Festival (Australia) and was broadcasted in several countries.
COMFORT WOMEN PROJECT
The documentary ‘Because we were beautiful’ was part of a project that also consists:
Educational paper and film for High School students (Dutch)