Malaysia’s First Feature Film with Lead Gay Characters
In Malaysia consensual gay sex is illegal, a remnant of British colonial. Depictions of LGBT people are considered taboo and information disseminated by gay people is considered an insult to Islam.
However, last month ...Dalam Botol based on a novel by Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman appeared in 52 cinemas in Malaysia. The film, according to Sulaiman, is a love story, based on a friend. Therefore she feels nothing wrong with the movie’s themes. The title means ...In a Bottle, originally it was titled Anu Dalam Botol - but "anu" the word for penis - was removed by censors, as was a nude scene.
The story concerns a young man who has gender reassignment surgery in order to please his male lover. However, he regrets his decision and eventually becomes involved with a woman. Oddly, both gay rights activists and conservative Muslim groups decry the film.
According to an article in The Guardian Alex, 28, an anonymous blogger who discusses gay themes worries about the film furthering anti-gay sentiment in Malaysia.
"The ending is very negative. Having the main character regret being gay and falling in love with a woman is not going to help our image problem here," said Alex.
Malaysia’s film production code must depict LGBT characters who realize they are at fault for their sexuality, and reform themselves. When SFGN first learned of the film, we researched when it was coming to the U.S.
Scott Cranin, Managing Director/Content Marketing for TLA Releasing, one of the foremost distributors of LGBT films in the country, explained why you probably won’t see the film here - or purchase it.