At DOCAVIV film festival last week, I saw a wonderful documentary about gay Palestinians who have been forced to flee their families and communities in Palestine and are living illegally in Tel Aviv. The Invisible Men, directed by Yariv Mozer, won a special jury honorable mention at the festival.
Louie, 32-years-old, is a charming man, but he has no permanent home, no community, nowhere that he belongs. He is a gay Palestinian, living illegally in Tel Aviv, who misses his family terribly. About ten years before, he ran away when his father, having learned that he is gay, attacked him with a knife. Abdu, also living and hiding in Tel Aviv, is more social than Louie and he has built for himself a community there. Faris, 23-years-old, has escaped almost certain death at the hands of his family. These men live in limbo in Tel Aviv -- their society has turned its back on them and Israel refuses to provide them with a refuge of any kind. Eventually they find assistance from a group of lawyers at a Legal Clinic at Tel Aviv University who help them to seek refuge in an unidentified European country.
During the Q&A, May 11, 2012 at DOCAVIV, filmmaker Yariv Mozer explained that this film was three years in the making. "It was shocking to me that in Tel Aviv in my community people live like this -- this is why it was my responsibility to make this film." When asked why these men don't receive asylum in Israel, he said that the lawyers at the clinic explained that there are two reasons -- one is security and the other is the fear of a precedent in the matter of absorbing Palestinian refugees.
The filmmakers succeed in keeping a balance, criticizing both Israeli and Palestinian societies equally for not accepting these men in their midst.
The Invisible Men (documentary, 2012, 68 minutes) was produced by Mozer Films, Ltd.