"World Cinema: Israel"

My book, "World Cinema: Israel" (originally published in 1996) is available from Amazon on "Kindle", with an in-depth chapter comparing and analyzing internationally acclaimed Israeli films up to 2010.

Want to see some of the best films of recent years? Just scroll down to "best films" to find listings of my recommendations.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Coming Out of the Closet

I recently had the opportunity to view a documentary called Say Amen by David Deri. Although this is not a new film, I wanted to write about it because it is in the personal documentary filmmaking style, which I find both hard-hitting and personal at the same time.

This documentary, David Deri's own story, provides the background for his TV drama, Until Tomorrow Comes (which has been reviewed on this blog). Deri grew up as the youngest of many children in a Moroccan family living in a development town. His parents are religious Jews, 68-year old Aliza and 75-year old Masud, who still live in Yerucham. In the film, Deri is considering coming out of the closet and we watch as he reveals his secret to all of his siblings, and eventually to his parents.

This is the world of religious, cultural and traditional Jews. Throughout the film, his parents and relatives are always making a prayer for him to find a bride. His sister says it will be very hard for their father to accept that he is gay and she asks him not to tell him. She says he'll never have his parent's support on this issue. When Deri reveals his lifestyle to his mother, she prays that God will help him change and she tells him to "say Amen." Surprisingly his father is also more compassionate than was expected – but also not very understanding.

This is a sensitive and intimate document of a grown man straddling two worlds – the religious world of his family and upbringing, and the world of Tel Aviv where he works and lives. The soundtrack features the heartfelt song by Yehuda Poliker who sings, "If I'll be back, remember me as I am."

The film was made in 2005, 67 minutes, and is available from Ruth Diskin Films

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