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Film Censors: Gay Characters Must Repent Or Suffer
Malaysian Film Censors: Gay Characters Must Repent Or Suffer

The Malaysian Film Censorship Board has approved one of the country’s first explicitly gay films — but has insisted on an unusual catch in order for it to get to theaters.

Dalam Botol (In A Bottle) is one of the first Malay-language films to overtly tackle the issue of homosexuality. As the extremely conservative Muslim-majority country very rarely lets films dealing with sexuality, religion, or politics past the censors, some were surprised to hear that the film that is already being called “Malaysia’s Brokeback Mountain” would hit theater screens. However, in order to get to the public, the film — which contains absolutely no nudity, sex, or even kissing — had one hoop that other Malaysian films do not have to jump through: censors insisted that the gay characters must either repent or come to a bad end during the course of the film.

The movie has been described by producer Raja Azmi Raja Sulaiman as a “tragic love story” between two men, one of whom undergoes a sex change operation in order to allow them to have a public relationship. The story is based off the real-life experience of a man the producer knew; however, she denies that there is any political or anti-religious sentiment to the film. “I’m just trying to tell a story about a friend,” she told the New York Times. “It’s all about love.”

The New York Times has more:

When asked about the requirement that gay characters must repent or be shown in a negative light, Ms. Raja Azmi would only say that the characters “indirectly” express remorse.

Mohammad Hussain, chairman of the Film Censorship Board, said in an interview that, under new guidelines released in March, films dealing with homosexuality would be dealt with on a “case-by-case basis,” although the theme was not encouraged. Sodomy, even consensual, is a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Malaysia.

Mr. Mohammad said there must be some “good intention” on the part of the filmmaker to show people that homosexuality is “something that’s not normal — at least in our culture.”

“It may be a normal thing outside our country,” he said, “but here in our society, it’s still considered taboo.”

Mr. Mohammad said filmmakers were encouraged to consult with the board before starting production, adding that this could help the filmmakers develop a product able to win approval. That way, he said, “they know already what they can portray in the film and then they shouldn’t blame us if we have to cut certain scenes.”

While Dalam Botol won’t be released in Malay-language markets until February, critics are expecting it to do brisk business at the box office — over 40 theaters have already signed on to show the film when released, and worldwide coverage of the film’s news suggests that an international release may be in the works.

Malaysian Film Censors: Gay Characters Must Repent Or Suffer


I'm not happy with this. In fact I am actually pissed off by all these - the motive and the purpose of the film, the ridiculous censorship etc.

To be frank, crap and provocation such as the subject above is the reason why I no longer watch and read Malaysia's based print & electronic media (Except for an English newspaper called Star as they stand fairly neutral in everything) for years.

Telling the truth my butt. The purpose of making this movie is just to create controversy and profit. This movie will continue to taint the the gay society within this country. It will only build fear within the mass community towards gay people. Fortunately I think the modern urban community will just ignore this crap.
That is sad.......and so backwards. :frown:

Feel free to PM Me. Keep in mind though, you have to catch me at the right moment. I will read everyone though. Want to try your luck? lol
The TV folks here in the puritanical USA did the same thing with women who dared to own their sexuality til very recently...Samantha Jones (Sex and the City) changed all of that.

Before Samantha...there was always a price to pay...disease, death, destitude, unhappiness or if they were "lucky"Wink....... comic relief to affirm the shallowness of the character.....

It takes people like yourself and others Jay who speak up about it to eventually change this course...when religion is the driving force it requires baby steps to move forward.
That's just...sick.:frown:

eastofeden's right about baby steps.
I think the bounderies would have to pushed back gradually enough for people to not notice/speak up against it too much. Which could take a while......:frown:
Silly Sarcastic So-and-so
The thing is, Jay, while people are still silenced about who they are and how they can live their part in society, being loved as they deserve and able to love as they wish, there will be no way out if there isn't an outcry at some point. I'm glad to say that Amnesty International is now taking arms against cruelty and degrading treatment towards homosexuals. It is just so hypocritical ( and ignorant) to say that because it is taboo it "doesn't exist".
Wow... this is kind of saddening to hear about Sad
A similar standard of censorship was employed in England and the USA for literature in the first half of the 20th century. History maybe makes me think this is progress from denying the existence of homosexuals completely. Some exposure is better than none, even if it has to be hedged in a backwards moral lesson.
When a subject is highly controversial — and any question about sex is that — one cannot hope to tell the truth. One can only show how one came to hold whatever opinion one does hold. One can only give one's audience the chance of drawing their own conclusions as they observe the limitations, the prejudices, the idiosyncrasies of the speaker.
- Virginia Woolf

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