Single-handedly raising her son, taking care of her paralyzed husband and working two jobs to pay off her husband’s debts, Siti is two days in the life of the titular character, a woman frustrated with her life and her duties, but who relentlessly carries on working to make a better life for herself and her family.
Selling crackers at the beach during the day with her mother-in-law and working at a illegal karaoke bar in the evenings, Siti is tired—both physically and emotionally—of the life she has been given and contemplates leaving it all in favour of marriage to a gentle policeman. We follow Siti as she carries out her household chores including doing the laundry, getting her son ready for school, bathing her paralyzed husband and even escaping the debt collector who has been hounding her for repayment of the loan he gave her husband.
Siti’s husband, who had been injured in an accident, borrowed money to buy a boat and since he’s unable to work to pay off the loan, the burden falls on Siti’s shoulders. The karaoke bar job—where she socializes with often drunk men for money—was her way of trying to make the loan payments, but her decision to work at the bar displeases her husband who stops talking to her altogether, much to her heartbreak. It’s infuriating to watch a man who is unable to work punishing his wife for working any way she can to pay of his debt, but somehow Siti puts up with it making her a far stronger woman than I.
Filmed in beautiful black and white, Siti is a mesmerizing film that will engage you from the get-go, making it almost impossible to look away. Every detail from the way Siti’s son eats his rice to how she smokes her cigarette are engrossing. Siti herself is equally engrossing and she alone is worth enjoying this movie.
Siti plays as part of this year’s Reel Asian Film Festival and screens on November 9 at 8:30pm at AGO Jackman Hall.