7.8/10
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8 user 4 critic

Garden (2003)

Gan (original title)
A look into the lives of teenage male prostitutes working the area known as the "Electricity Garden" in Tel Aviv.

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5 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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The Garden is a desolate section of Tel Aviv where young gay prostitutes and drug addicts gather. It's a territory for the dispossessed (the irony of its name not lost on anyone who enters or escapes) and for pickups, drug deals, and clashes with the law. Over the course of one year, filmmakers Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash follow two young men who have made the Garden their home: Nino, a 17-year-old Palestinian living illegally in Israel, in and out of jail and reformatories; and Dudu, an Arab-Israeli self- destructing under the debilitation of drug addiction. The young men give Shatz and Barash tremendous access into the most intimate aspects of their lives. The filmmakers, ever mindful of the trust they have earned, create a powerfully honest film, affording Nino and Dudu respect and dignity all too often denied them in their daily lives. Against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the unease and ridicule still directed toward homosexuals, the two friends depend on ... Written by Anonymous

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2003 (Israel)  »

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Garden  »

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1.37 : 1
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Definitely not the garden of Israeli-Palestinian tension you'd expect
3 April 2004 | by (Coral Gables, Fl) – See all my reviews

The "Garden" is a very seedy area of Tel Aviv. In the world most of us know, luxury cars would not circulate freely in such a desolate place (this is NOT Hollywood or Sunset Boulevard, or a busy pick up street). Much less probable is the relaxed attitude of upper middle class types opening their doors and letting anyone inside the car and drive off before any negotiation, seemingly unafraid of violence. And that these Israeli "drivers" are picking up drug crazed young Palestinian males in criminal activities with such confidence is eye opening, at the very least.

But I guess that's one more contradiction of Tel Aviv life this documentary tells. Drug addicted, young gay prostitutes and transvestites (Israelis and Palestinians) share the same working space in uncommon harmony; in fact as friend. To bring these points home, and make a few more, the film makers follow two young men who "live and work" in the Garden. Namely, Nino, a 17-year-old Palestinian living illegally in Israel, in and out of jail and reformatories - and Dudu, an Arab-Israeli.

The guys give what we must assume, and seems to be "honest testimony", while their dealings with Israeli authorities, "clients" and even court hearings are shown. Their views on the Palestinian conflict are so superficial and unimportant that it only concerns them as an impediment to stay in Israel proper, where society is more permissive. This allows them to indulge in their "vices and interests," out of the question in the Arab world.

These activities, however, are obviously not sustainable, even while facilitated by many Israelis - some well intentioned, others with greedier intentions. Life in the "Garden" is a one way ticket to death via diverse living hells, and this documentary does a good job of proving that point.


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