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Loved, Honoured, and Bruised

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Loved, Honoured, and Bruised
Directed byGail Singer
Produced byJerry Krepakevich
Written byGail Singer
  • Jeannie Fox
  • David Fox
CinematographySusan Trow
Edited byJudith Marritt
Studio D
Distributed byNational Film Board of Canada
Release date
Running time
25 minutes

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Loved, Honoured, and Bruised is a National Film Board of Canada film created by the all women studio, Studio D. The film is an examination of the problem of physical and mental abuse of wives, based on one particular case; both the husband and wife are interviewed. It focuses on Jeannie who was married for 16 years to a man who physically and mentally abusive. Their early marriage was absolutely normal. The abuse started after the birth of their first child, including getting a pot of freshly brewed tea thrown at both Jeannie and their six month old. Thirteen years later, she left with her four children. The film tells her story, one that is not uncommon..[1]

Jeannie was able to obtain a separation and to start a new life with the assistance of social workers, the welfare, and legal systems. Many women share her story but stay or return with their abusive partners, despite the abusive environment because of fear of retaliation, lack of finances, or not knowing the resources available to them. Loved, Honoured, and Bruised draws attention to a complex problem and shows there are ways of overcoming a painful situation[1].


Studio D produced films that needed to be made and gave them to the audiences and the audiences used them[2]. It gave women in Canada the courage to speak out about things that they didn't discuss openly before[2]. According to Studio D filmmaker Terre Nash, the women's film studio played a role in the transformation of thinking by circulating documentaries revealing insights about women's experiences [3]. The film was praised by Lifelines: Culture, Spirituality and Family Violence as a tool for healing from those who have suffered abuse[4].The significance of Loved, Honoured and Bruised (1980) helped women to identify issues around violence committed against women and their children[2]. The film had a “profound effect in educating large numbers of people about various forms of violence against women.”according to Andrea L. Levan[5]. Thus paving the way for legislative change and attention around these issues being faced by women. In 1987 the federal government announce major funding initiatives to respond to the social problem of 'wife abuse'.[2]. Further, many communities across Canada established a network of services for women, including shelters for battered women, rape crisis centres and self-defence courses, among others[2].

Continuation of film[edit]

Gail Singer has directed the film You Can’t Beat a Women! (1997), which is a follow up film to Love, Honoured and Bruised. It includes the subject of the original film Jeannie Fox 20 years after she and her five daughters moved to Winnipeg Shelter. In the recent film she is shown to be an advocate and describing her experience as a survivor.[6] This film much like Love, Honoured and Bruised is an in depth look into violence against women, however this film looks to six different countries.[7] It features segments shot in Canada, Russia, Israel, South Africa, Chile, and Japan, and the women who survive their violent relationships with men.[7] Also how the women are reclaiming their lives from experiences of rape, incest and verbal and physical abuse and their search for sources of healing.[7] The film was described as "sometimes shocking, sometimes uplifting, the film presents a provocative perspective on the universal issue of women’s human rights."

"A feature-length documentary about battered women may not sound like your idea of a good time, but Gail Singer is a witty, irreverent film director with a knack for confounding expectations. You Can't Beat a Woman! (1997), which opens at Toronto's Carlton Cinema in mid-January and will also turn up shortly in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa, is far from the grim ordeal you might expect, given the topic. Singer has been tracking this subject for the better part of two decades. In 1979, she made a 25-minute film called Loved, Honored and Bruised, in which an abused Winnipeg woman named Jeannie Fox and her husband talked with startling candor about their own domestic violence. A few years ago, the National Film Board asked Singer to make a full-length documentary on the subject of wife-battering, but she realized that a solemn, straightforward approach would no longer work."[8]

"You Can't Beat a Woman! [is] a sprawling, long, ambitious take on the theme of domestic violence and recovery. It crosses five continents, lasts 94 minutes and has actually devoured her 1977 film [Loved, Honoured and Bruised] which is deconstructed in the first half-hour of this new film. In many ways, it is a film about films about wife battering."[9]

Praise and criticism[edit]

Dorothy Todd Henaut praised the film for helping "women identify issues around violence committed against women and their children." [3][2]

The Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women led by Andrea L. Levan felt that the film was "Powerful and informative…. And had a profound effect in educating large numbers of people about various forms of violence against women".[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 National Film Board of Canada. "Loved, Honoured, and Bruised" (PDF). Nfb.ca. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Todd-Henaut, Dorothy; Clark, Jennifer (February 1976). "The Challenge for Change Experience". JAE. 29 (3): 28. doi:10.2307/1424500. ISSN 0149-2993.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gail, Vanstone (2004). Documenting D : studio D of the NFB and its representation of women's lives in Canada, 1974-1996. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada. ISBN 0612863719. OCLC 57339123. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Lifelines : culture, spirituality, and family violence : understanding the cultural and spiritual needs of women who have experienced abuse. Boehm, Reinhild. Edmonton [Alta.]: University of Alberta Press. 1999. ISBN 0888643128. OCLC 226375599. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  5. 5.0 5.1 Levan, Andrea (2000). Shattered window, shut doors : the Canadian Panel on Violence Against Women as a case study of feminist engagement with the state. Ottawa: National Library of Canada = Bibliothèque nationale du Canada. ISBN 0612392821. OCLC 1017548570. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. Cummings, Melanie (1998). "[You can't beat a woman]". Herizons. 12: 42.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 National Film Board of Canada. "NFB - You Can't Beat a Woman!". nfb.ca. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  8. Knelman, Martin (1998). "You can't beat a woman". Financial Post Magazine. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  9. Singer, Gail. Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford University Press. 2011-10-31. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

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