- Director: Tomer Heymann; Barak Heymann
- Writer: Tomer Heymann; Barak Heymann
- Producer: Alexander Bodin Saphir; Barak Heymann
It won the Panorama Audience Award @ the Berlinale...
Without a doubt, Saar Maoz talks unreservedly to the camera, his candour - at times - is a worry...why would someone be so open on camera? Why did he agree to be in this film? Why did his family get involved...especially the homophobic brother?!? There are so many 'whys'...
Absorbing as it may be, to some...this prying into the lives of others...none of these questions were asked...the mother, the father, both concrete conservatives...why on earth!?!
It's almost like watching - uncomfortably - a series of confidential psychiatric sessions...with a lapsed Jewish man who - let's face it - is [only] going through an obvious mid-life crisis...he, like millions of other men!
So...what makes this man so special, to warrant 85 minutes spent in his company? Our review sofa was split down the middle...some were thoroughly engaged, others wondered what all the fuss was about!
It's a subject-driven subjective film...about a non-celebrity...just a normal gay man facing the 'normal' shit that life throws at you...yes, there is the HIV issue...yes, there is the religion that you were born into denying your very being...yes, there are the antagonistic family members...perhaps, the familiarity of all these issues resonated with the mid-life attending audience?!?
But...what has this man done to warrant 85 minutes of our time?
Our sofa remains divided...refreshing in its grounded, mundane familiarity...or, a decidedly suspicious exercise in a weird form of catharsis...the questions remain: Why? And, why share?
Saar has never fulfilled his parents’ expectations. Ever since he defied the rules of his kibbutz and was barred from the settlement community seventeen years ago, as far as his family is concerned, he simply does not exist. He left Israel to live freely as a gay man in London. When a three-year relationship ended, he threw himself into an excess of sex and drugs until he was diagnosed with HIV and was forced to rethink his life. He has finally found a home singing in the London Gay Men’s Chorus where music is giving him the courage for a reunion with his family.
This film provides a sensitive, humorous and charming record of how the now forty-year-old protagonist and his estranged parents and siblings set off to confront their disagreements and fears. Unexpected warmth and deep rejection become equally challenging. Incidentally, Saar’s intensely personal story also illuminates the fascinating diversity of a communal way of life that is pervaded by culture and religion; he also inspires us with the sincerity of his search for his identity. The film’s numerous energetic and emotional choral scenes lend passionate expression to his message.