It’s a daunting task deciding what to watch on Netflix owing to the endless content on offer, but this small gem filters through, the triumphant third world nation story of courage and resilience, as turmoil is looming.
In a country where it’s dangerous and illegal to be homosexual, a young boy refuses to play with boys and dresses in a bride’s dress while a family member stresses, “He looks like a real girl! This might look innocent now, but before you know it……”
Funny Boy is set in 1974 against the backdrop of civil unrest in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where violence breaks out between the Tamil and Sinhalese communities. A father shows disappointment in his young son who shows all the signs of being homosexual at such a young age. Nicknamed ‘funny boy’ Arjie innocently questions, “Why does everybody say I’m funny?”
The story of Arjie’s coming of age evolves, the discrimination he must contend with not only for his homosexuality but also for being of Tamil origin. An insightful look into the customs of this country which include arranged marriages is a culture shock and clearly defines the differences with westernised countries.
Is it wrong to be different? Themes of love, family, and primarily the freedom to be who you are emerge in this excellent drama which was Canada’s official Oscar selection for the International Feature Film category.
Funny Boy is not only a relatable LGBTQI story but also a historical insight into one of the darkest chapters in Sri Lanka’s history. The Tamil classified themselves as ‘the Jews of Asia’ as hatred and violence accelerated against them and ultimately after 26 years the civil war finally came to an end in 2009, which resulted in over one million Tamils leaving Sri Lanka as refugees. (MMo)