A fictional gender-bending story along the lines of “Boys Don’t Cry,” inspired by a real woman recently released from prison, “Flying With One Wing” concerns a female-to-male transvestite in homophobic contemporary Sri Lanka. Notable mainly as a cultural curiosity from a struggling film industry, the unsophisticated drama wavers too uncertainly between social critique and clumsy sex farce to be of interest beyond all-embracing fest slates.
Examining gender politics in a phallocentric society, writer-director Asoka Handagama (“This Is My Moon”) chronicles the experience of a woman living convincingly as a man (Anoma Janadari) and working as a mechanic, whose secret is uncovered by an unscrupulous doctor (Wilson Jayasiri) when co-workers rush her to a clinic after being injured. The discovery sparks a crescendo of victimization. The technically rudimentary drama touches complex themes of identity, concealment, prejudice and courage, both of the main character and her wife (Gayani Sudharshani), who knows her “husband” more intimately than she acknowledges. But aside from Janadari’s solemn, dignified performance, the treatment is far too unrefined to have emotional impact.