Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Gay Palestinian-Israeli Love Story on Screen

 To listen to the KUCI Subversity Online podcast of our interview, recorded yesterday at Outfest, with director Michael Mayer, click on: .

In the best of times, committed relationships across geographic and political boundaries are daunting and hard to make them lasting. Israel-born director Michael Mayer has made a daring gay love story, "Out in the Dark," involving a Palestinian Birzeit University psych student, Nimr (played by Nicholas Jacob), and attorney Roy (played by noted Israeli actor Michael Aloni).  The film is screening at Outfest Los Angeles 2013.

Michael Aloni (left) and Nicholas Jacob (right) in scene from"Out in the Dark"
Mayer, who also co-wrote the screenplay, tells Subversity Online that the impetus for the film came from his finding out there is a community of gay Palestinians living in Tel Aviv and human rights lawyers helping them. The story is inspired by actual cases.  Mayer suggests that advances in gay rights "never came from the top down" but rather from the struggle of activists.  Gay online groups now serve to link gay and lesbian Palestinians together.  He notes that the security services have for decades been targeting gay Palestinians serve as  potential informants. 

When the state apparatus begins active surveillance of Nimr - who is not out to his family back in Ramallah on the West Bank - his lover Roy, with his underground and above ground connections, helps figure out a way out of this tense situation.

Michael Mayer at Outfest.  Photo copyright Daniel C. Tsang 2013
Both actors, whom Mayer tells Subversity Online are straight, manage to act convincingly as passionate, dashingly handsome, gay lovers even as the state security services lurk in the dark monitoring their politically taboo relationship.

Mayer is to be applauded for making a film where a gay Palestinian is realistically portrayed.  His film points to the contradictions in a state which proclaims its liberalness on gay issues, but ignores its continued repression of the Palestinians oppressed by the Occupation it imposes on them. 

The film screens at Outfest  tonight and next Sunday at the Directors Guild of America -- July 14 at 7:00pm at DGA 1, and July 21, 2:45pm at  DGA 2.

For the entire lineup, see the Outfest LA program guide. See also ticket information. - Daniel C. Tsang.


Becky said...
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Bella Collins said...

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