The World Unseen (2007) lesbian film
The World Unseen is a lesbian-themed movie written and directed by Shamim Sarif, adapted from her own novel. In 1950s South Africa, a land torn apart by apartheid, Amina epitomizes individuality and freedom. She runs the Location Café, a haven of fun, food, and festivities open to all. Amina defines her own laws and lives on her own terms, undeterred by the reproving police, and the disparaging Indian community. Miriam demurely follows conventions and makes no demands on life. Her world is confined to being a doting mother to her three children, and a subservient wife to her chauvinistic husband Omar. Amina has a covert business partner, Jacob, who is barred from owning a business because the State considers him to be ‘coloured’. He is attracted to Madeleine, a local white postmistress, but the indignities and injustices of the prevalent law thwart their desire to pursue a relationship. Omar’s sister Rehmat married a white man, against rules that forbid mixed marriages. When she needs protection from police, Amina shelters her, and her charm and strength of character captivate Miriam, who secretly rejoices when Amina accepts a farming job in her backyard. Amina notices Miriam’s inherent kindness and silent dedication, and the mutual attraction between them grows. They bare their hearts to each other and their emotions get entangled. They contrive another reason to meet: driving lessons. The inescapable social distance between them makes them question their feelings, but, in the midst of hatred and oppression, their only refuge is love. In the resplendent South African landscape, with retro music strewn in the background, The World Unseen explores Miriam’s relationship with Amina and how it empowers her to make personal choices that change her world. The protagonists are portrayed by Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth.