"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.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Family Reconciliation

Saar Maoz is a 40-year-old gay man living in London.  He grew up on a religious kibbutz in the Beit Shean valley, served in the paratroopers, and now works for Apple in London.  He sings in the London Gay Men's Choir and discovers that he is HIV positive.  More than anything else, he seems to crave a reconciliation with his family back in Israel. 

Along comes a filmmaker team, Tomer Heymann (who recently directed Mr. Gaga, previously reviewed on this blog) and his brother Barak Heymann, who work together to create a soul-searching documentary, Who's Gonna Love Me Now? about Saar Maoz.  This is a hard-hitting film filled with both joy and sadness, and much drama.
Saar talks about how he was thrown out of the kibbutz where he grew up and his bitterness at the fact that his parents didn't fight the decree.  We meet his parents -- his mother comes to London to visit him and we see that she is trying very hard to fight her earlier shock and antipathy to her son's homosexuality. 

Then we meet his siblings.  One of his brothers is worried about letting his brother, Saar, who is HIV positive, come close to his children.  In an extraordinary scene, sitting in a coffee shop, he is explaining his feelings to Saar, and we see that he has it all neatly worked out.  Sitting quietly next to him, however, is his wife who suddenly chimes in and says -- I am the mother of those same children and I want to say that I'm not worried! Saar's father is old-school macho, still living his triumphant Six Day War memories, and obsessed with how his oldest son has let him down. 

These are just some of the family members with whom Saar must come to terms if he wants to reconcile with his family.  What makes them particularly interesting is the fact that they are religious Jews and, therefore, they are finding it particularly difficult to come to terms with the reality of Saar's lifestyle.

Living in London, Saar sings in the London Gay Men's Choir and we have the delightful opportunity to watch rehearsals and performances which are stupendous!  They add a wonderful dimension to the film, providing not only musical interludes but also a wonderful respect for the talents and charm of this particular group of men.  

Who's Gonna Love Me Now? (documentary, 85 minutes) is available from Heymann Brothers Films.

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