This indie break-out film starring Chloë Grace Moretz reflects the evangelical and puritanical hysteria over 377A
Pray the gay away
This past month, the whole country has been up in arms about the Penal Code's Section 377A — which criminalises sex between men — a legal debate that is fundamentally about extending equality to a minority community. Even the National Council of Churches of Singapore have jumped into the conversation with their religiosity.
Golden Village's Love & Pride Film Festival returns for its 10th edition during this profound and pertinent moment. Curated by the Singapore Film Society, this year's line-up features independent films that centre around the theme of acceptance.
A highlight of the festival, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, takes place mostly in a fictional Christian gay conversion facility called God's Promise. Helmed by Iranian-American director Desiree Akhavan — who also wrote and directed the delightfully quirky Appropriate Behaviour in 2014 — The Miseducation of Cameron Post was awarded the prestigious grand jury prize at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The film is a period drama set in 1993, but the topic is still worryingly relevant and present in Singapore, and all around the world. While the U.K. government pledges to outlaw the 'gay cure' practice, the official position on conversion therapy in Singapore is ambiguous despite studies that show it can have devastating consequences from depression to suicidal thoughts.
An adaptation of Emily M. Danforth's novel, the film stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Cameron Post, who gets banished to the facility after her Jesus-loving aunt catches her making out with a female classmate during prom. Once there, Cameron meets an array of queer outsiders, including free spirit Jane Fonda, played by Sasha Lane.
These so-called 'therapies' stem from the belief that homosexuality is a "lifestyle" and attempt to shame and hurt the young and vulnerable into denying a core part of who they are. In light of the extreme polarisation that has emerged on this hot-button issue, with petitions for and against the repeal of 337A, The Miseducation of Cameron Post's empathetic narrative might potentially reverse long-standing orthodox attitudes, even if the laws don't.
Catch the Miseducation of Cameron Post at Golden Village Grand and Great World City. For more information on other films featured in the Love & Pride Film Festival, visit Golden Village. Ticket sales begin 20 September. All films are rated R21 due to homosexual theme and content.