Memories of My Body: Controversial LGBTQ Movie is Indonesia’s Entry for the Oscars

Memories of My Body, directed by Garin Nugroho, has been selected to represent Indonesia for the best international film Oscar category.

The announcement was made on Tuesday by actress Christine Hakim representing the Indonesian Film Selection Committee.

The fact-based film depicts the story of a young man from a dance troupe that performs Lengger Lanang, a folk dance from central Java that is usually performed in pairs, and in which men often take both male and female roles.

It is based on the real story of Rianto, a dancer who was abused as a child, explored masculinity and femininity while growing up, and endured traumatic experiences, discrimination and violence. Rianto himself plays the dancer as an adult and narrates the film.

But it proved deeply controversial with Islamic religious groups, which labeled it “deviant, promoting LGBT values.”

The film was banned in five provinces.