Part two of the four-part Fatal Reaction series deals with the problems of university-educated singles in Singapore, where forty percent of female university graduates are unmarried. The president of Singapore maintains that this is because there are too few male university graduates. The documentary tells the story of men and women interested in marriage but unwilling to sacrifice their careers.
About the series
‘Fatal Reaction’is a four-part documentary series about highly educated career women and their problems finding a husband who is their equal. Director Jongbloed’s series explores the choices of professional women in relation to marriage and family in New York, Moscow, Bombay & Singapore. Central dramatic question: Why are so many career women unable to find a compatible partner?
Singapore has experienced explosive economic growth in recent years, and more and more women are becoming career focused. University educated women no longer fit the traditional Singaporian role patterns.This means that they remain single longer than used to be the case. To address this issue, the government established the Social Development Unit, a dating service for university educated professionals that organizes workshops, seminars, and singles cruises (the so-called Love Boats). The government is wary of excessive westernization and is taking measures to establish a three child minimum per family. Singles under the age of 35 and single mothers are not allowed to own their own homes.
Unmarried men with no one to cook, clean or care for them often move back in with their parents, only to be confronted with a generation gap, as parents fail to understand why their children choose to remain single and are unfamiliar with the ‘career woman’ phenomenon. Unmarried women struggle with singlehood. They have high standards, since they are self-supporting and don’t need a husband to support them. They are unwilling to settle for a man who doesn’t suit their professional lifestyles.
In 1994 I began to notice that the majority of successful career women I knew were single. I looked questioningly around me: was it just in my own town Amsterdam, or was this a worldwide phenomenon? My quest was at first not an easy one: for most high profile women in my own country, the issue of remaining single, was the one aspect of their lives they didn’t want to talk about. In New York the women were more open to talk and after my first episode (Fatal Reaction-New York) was released, the discussion caught fire. Newspaper, glosses and talk shows brought the topic out into the open. The more I researched and branched out into the world, the more I realized that this topic is one of the most burning issues of the modern era. Screenings at other film festivals from New York to Sydney have all turned into memorably heated and powerful discussions. My choice to include Bombay into the series was confirmed by the following quote from the controversial Indian writer Shobha De: For most Indian women marriage is a life-long lie. They are in it because their options (if any) are limited. It’s marriage or wasteland.
Festival screenings & awards
This popular documentary series has been aired frequently by numerous broadcasters worldwide. In addition, each part has had a succesful international cinema release with prominent screening at many leading film festivals, all turning into heated discussions.
- Director: Marijke Jongbloed
- Producer: Marijke Jongbloed, Martin Lagestee, Lagestee Film BV
- Scenario: Marijke Jongbloed
- Camera: Peter Brugman
- Editor: Denise Janz
- Sound: Gertjan Miedema
- Music: Harry de Wit