Movie review: Lala Road and Mama Rainbow are heartwarming and sobering

Both heartwarming and sobering at the same time, this pair of films looks at the challenges faced by Chinese LGBT  and the brave people who are slowly changing things.

Lala Road

In this short ten minute film, several lesbian teens and young adults tell us about their difficulties coming out and dealing with their families (“lala” is slang for lesbian). They face intense pressure to get married and have babies, while their parents face shame if they were found out and misconceptions about homosexuality. Many of these kids have only two options: get married or leave China. Living abroad they’ll be free to love who they wish to love, and let their parents keep on believing they have a straight child.

Mama Rainbow

A scene from Mama Rainbow a heartwarming and sobering movie about the challenges faced by Chinese LGBT.

A scene from Mama Rainbow, a heartwarming and sobering movie about the challenges faced by Chinese LGBT.

The film consists of interviews with gay and lesbian kids and the awesome mothers who love and support them. They spoke very candidly about their original doubts and misconceptions, the coming-out stories—from both sides—and their continuing work supporting Chinese PFLAG chapters and other local queer organisations. It’s beautiful, often sweetly funny, and will definitely give you the warm fuzzies.

The films were followed by a Q&A with members of PFLAG Vancouver. One of the questions asked was: where are the fathers? The situation is actually pretty similar in Canada and the US, where fathers in PFLAG are rare. Mothers, I presume in any culture, can handle and express emotions better, and tend to be more outspoken allies.

Another interesting fact that came out is PFLAG is in the process of opening a new chapter in Abbotsford. They pointed out that once it is and running they will most likely face issues not too different from what was seen in Mama Rainbow: societal shame for everyone concerned, fighting against rigid traditions, and the difficulties of living openly gay out in the Fraser Valley, leading kids to just pack up and leave.

No further screenings scheduled.

(A version of this movie review first appeared on

Nicolas DemersNicolas Demers

Nicolas Demers is a web developer and blogger living in Vancouver’s West End. In his spare time he enjoys science-fiction, photography, and is actively involved with the Vancouver Gay Volleyball Association.

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