This film is a first step in developing a longer film and a method to re-use audio material gathered during fieldwork research on women's romantic/sex tourism in a new format of documentary film. In 2001-3 I carried out a series of interviews with women and men in the tourist resorts of the Sinai, Egypt about their romantic and sexual relationships. This research was published as 'Sex, tourism and the postcolonial encounter: Landscapes of longing in Egypt' (Ashgate 2010).
It seems very apt to use film when doing research on geographical relationships in tourism. After all, as Said and the whole canon of postcolonial studies have noted, the power relations between the global North and South are played out through imagery (and writing) and nowhere is this more the case than in tourism where the landscapes and people of the South are reconfigured into aesthetic scenes for our sensual pleasure. So can these painful and damaging power imbalances also be upset and reworked through the use of images?
If so how do you achieve this and visually represent the process of gendered and racial othering through imagery using film? Most men and women in these relationships wanted to remain anonymous and in any case filming them directly would leave them vulnerable to being stereotyped themselves as if they were being offered up to their audience as televisual voyeurism.
So instead in this test short, I separated the audio from visual. Using the audio interviews as the soundtrack for the film, the visuals could do other work. Instead of sundrenched palm trees and beaches the film shows the landscape where European women come from not the landscapes they long for. In this way we can begin to understand how women's 'sex tourism' is about so much more than sex. This is a short experimental trailer for a longer version of the film.