Funny Boy (2020)

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Funny Boy: Directed by Deepa Mehta. With Agam Darshi, Nimmi Harasgama, Ali Kazmi, Seema Biswas. Explores Arjie’s sexual awakening from a young boy to a teenager who falls in love with a male classmate, just as political tensions escalate between the Sinhalese and Tamils in the years leading up to the 1983 uprisings.

“Arjun is Tamil boy who realises heu0026#39;s gay in a country that criminalises people like him. The movie follows his life from childhood to young manhood, set in Sri Lanka during the ethnic war that resulted in somewhere between 100,000 and 150,000 deaths, and one million Tamils migrating to India, Canada, and other countries. The story is one damn thing after another. The messiness, almost incoherence of the script, mimics this, but also distances us from the characters, who become objects moved around by events that they donu0026#39;t and canu0026#39;t control. Arjunu0026#39;s relationship with Shean doesnu0026#39;t free either of them, itu0026#39;s at best a brief time of mutual joy which canu0026#39;t resist the politics surrounding it. The acting is uniformly very good, helping us Westerners understand a culture so different and yet oddly similar to our own. I get the impression that Mehta had a clear vision of what she wanted, and it wasnu0026#39;t a neatly structured plot tied up with a neat bow of a resolution. I think she also wanted to show how avoiding politics is no defence. The movie was engaging despite itself, the kind that tosses up half-recalled scenes when you least expect them. Worth watching, even if only to get a vague notion of what itu0026#39;s like to live in a different society than your own. I read a number of attacks on this movie, all of which focused on two points, and which all betrayed that the critics had political axes to grind. Pity.”

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