Gender issues and conflicts of sexuality were the twin strains of the movie, Memories of My Body, which drew a sizeable crowd at 24 Kolkata International Film Festival (KIFF) at Nandan.
The audience of this Indonesian film had members of LGBT community and film study course students rubbing shoulders and clapping in admiration as humanity overcame gender issues. Students with preferred sexuality for their own sex, travelled from as far as Kalyani and Burdwan to have glimpses of the movie that dealt with their plight. The intention, however, was also to know how the other parts of the world welcome the members of this section.
Subhojit Raha, a student of philosophy, caught the first train to Kolkata from Kalyani, to watch the 105-minute Indonesian movie that somewhat mirrored his reflection. Similar was the passion of 26- year-old Sushmita Mondal, a resident of Hooghly district. “Although there are several movies on the subject in our country, I was keen to know, how people of other parts of the world look at it,” she said.
“The director has done justice to the plot which is so realistic. I wish such stories could be adapted even in our state for creating awareness of the trauma of inner conflicts that one has to pass through,” she added.
Samir Das, a software engineer who has plans of marrying his partner Sourodip Ghosh, felt that the movie depicting conflicts between soul and body, was heart winning. “Our country has set milestones this year in welcoming such people. Earlier, it was almost impossible to even confess about being an LGBT. But now I can openly say that my sexual preferences are for my own sex,” said Samir, the final year student of English.
The achievement of appreciation in the form of thunderous claps, however, was not an easy journey for Garin Nugroho, the director of film. Elaborating on the topic, the director said: “Although Indonesians are a multicultural people, homosexuality still remains a subject of conflict in our country. Given that community censorship still dominates in several parts of the country, conflicts of sexuality are still a taboo among the masses.”
Nugroho, who is also the writer of the film, said: “In many parts of Indonesia, the community faces discrimination and they are not included in the mainstream. The story is based on real-life incidents of one of my close friends. Although the subject is very sensitive, I decided to adopt it up for my movie as it is important to take steps to make the society open-minded.”
The iconic director has done 24 feature films mostly on social issues of his country. He even received life threats for doing a movie on the killings in Indonesia during the communist rule in 1965.s