Deconstructing Zoe

Running time: 52 minutes Year: 2015 Director: Rosa Fong

Deconstructing Zoe is an exploration of gender, race, sexuality and identity, seen through the life and times of transgender Chinese actor Zoe.

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The documentary premiered at Seattle's Translation Transgender Film Festival in 2016, followed by screenings at the Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival and Jakarta Queer Film Festival.

Synopsis What is it that makes Chinese men mostly invisible and de-sexualised in the West? Why, by contrast, are Chinese women nearly always seen as desirable and objectified sexually?   Zoe has grappled with this question in her work as an actor on stage and in her private life.  As a Chinese man living in the West he often passes unnoticed, but as a Chinese woman, Zoe attracts attention and feels empowered.

Deconstructing Zoe is a vivid and intimate portrait of a transgender actor. It is an exploration of gender, race, sexuality and identity, seen through Zoe's eyes. We trace the journey from boyhood in a small town in Malaysia to the West-end stage via the trans scene of London. 

Interviews are interwoven with performances from Zoe’s semi-auto biographical play “An Occasional Orchid”.  The performance pieces echo the experience of a transgendered person, who Zoe says often live a twilight existence.  The orchid is also a metaphor for how Asian women are seen to be exotic, beautiful and desirable in the West.

Deconstructing Zoe has an important message to us all, that gender is not fixed or binary, but for some is a spectrum and that at any one time we can be genderqueer and sexually fluid.