The free screening of Vietnamese film about a gay couple was stopped from showing in Malaysia.
The public screening Lost in Paradise was set to be shown at that Performing Arts Centre of Penang last night.
The 2011 film is revolves around Khoi who moves to Ho Chi Minh City from a small village. It’s there he falls in love with Lam after learning the city can be a hard place to live.
Lost in Paradise was supposed to be shown to adults only as part of a month of world movies screenings.
‘Due to unforeseen circumstances, the film that was scheduled for viewing has now been replaced,’ organizers told New Straits Times.
The Performing Arts Centre of Penang had advertised the film on its Facebook page as ‘this month of World’s Best Movies, we present you (sic) a first Vietnamese gay film’.
‘Our management said the movie is unsuitable for screening due to its sensitive subject. So we decided to replace it,’ a PenangPAC spokesman said.
Despite its cancellation a Malaysian Muslim non-government organization was not impressed the film was scheduled in the first place.
Hafiz Nordin chairman of Jaringan Muslimin Pulau Pinang (JMPP) said the film would offensive to the Yang Dipertua Agong. The Yang Dipertua Agong is Malaysia’s monarch and responsible for defending the sanctity of Islam.
He said the screening of such a movie would also be an insult to the Yang Dipertua Agong, who is the head of religion defending the sanctity of Islam in the country.
‘What is their intention, in promoting the movie and wanting to show it,’ Nordin told the Malaysian Insight.
‘It is as if there is an agenda to make homosexuality something acceptable.
‘We urge everyone to respect Islam as the religion of state. No Malaysian should think of bringing in such a movie.’
Homosexuality is illegal in Malaysia and it is not the first time this year gay content in a film cause controversy.
Earlier this year Malaysia’s censors banned Disney’s Beauty and the Beast live-action film for ‘gay moment’ in March. It eventually relented after international media attention and allowed the film to screen uncensored.