Malaysia's first gay movie to test public acceptance

15:52, November 15, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

Malaysia's first gay-themed film, which will open in cinemas in February, is set to raise eyebrows in this conservative, mainly Muslim Southeast Asian country, where homosexuality remains a taboo subject.

The Malay language "...Dalam Botol" ("... In a Bottle") tells the story of the relationship between Ruby, a transsexual Muslim man, and her wayward male lover Ghaus.

The movie offers no racy love scenes to survive scrutiny by the country's strict film censors, but will set a precedent in a nation where sex between males is a legal offence under the country's criminal laws, and where homosexuality is rarely discussed in public.

"This is the first movie in Malaysia about gays, and it's going to get attention because it's something different," said Wan Raja, who plays Ghaus, after a preview screening of the movie in the capital city.

Malaysia only allows films to feature homosexuality if the characters repent or are killed off, and those characters are usually minor. This is the first movie with an entire gay theme.

Producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman said the movie was based on the life of a friend and that her intention was to offer a glimpse into the life of a transsexual.

She submitted her script not only to the country's national Censorship Board for approval, but also to Malaysia's official Islamic authority for advice.

"I told them the title of the film was 'Penis in A Bottle' and that it was a gay movie about a transsexual, and they said why are you doing this?" said Raja Azmi.

The Islamic authority ultimately approved the script as it included Ruby's eventual regret over her sex-change operation. But the original title, which refers to how Ruby keeps her removed male genitalia in a bottle, was rejected.

The censorship board, which forbids local movies from showing unmarried Muslim couples kissing and hugging, allowed the film to screen with some cuts to shorten a bedroom scene between Ruby and Ghaus.

"It is a gay movie and love story, but for the intimate bedroom scenes we don't have to compete with Hollywood. We can show things our own way," said Wan Raja.

Public reception to the movie is not yet known as the film has yet to be widely reviewed, but the subject of homosexuality has often drawn anger among conservative groups in Malaysia.

Last month the country's Islamist opposition party protested against U.S. singer Adam Lambert's concert in the country last month, accusing the singer of promoting "gay culture".

"I don't know if this is good or bad but we do seem restricted to boundaries, so we just need to wait and see how people react," said student Ikha Yusoff, who attended the film's limited preview screening.

Wan Raja said he hoped people would have open minds.

"It's a beautiful movie. I hope people will give it a chance and watch it first, rather than just brush it off," he added.

Source: chinadaily.com.cn/agencies

(Editor:叶欣)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion