Because We Were Beautiful

Because We Were Beautiful image

(61 min.) Indonesia/Netherlands

Director/Producer: Frank van Osch


Filmmaker Frank van Osch, together with photographer Jan Banning and journalist Hilde Janssen, traveled through Indonesia searching for former “comfort women.” During World War II these “comfort 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 eighties. 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, and the fear and how these experiences 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. This is a documentary full of shame, sorrow and reluctantly told life stories.


Frank van Osch has been a filmmaker since 1989. He has worked for Dutch broadcasting companies such as NCRV, NOS, NPS and Teleac and has made hundreds of informative films for institutions and the government. Since the start of 2000 Frank van Osch has been directing and producing primarily cultural and social documentaries about subjects that touch and inspire him. His credits include: Broken Promise, Singer Without a Voice, Heinz Polzer—Not Without Talent, Fighting AIDS, Flight Back, Not a Penny In Your Pocket and Our Parade Stories