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The movie follows a group of young friends in the city of Tel Aviv and is as much a love song to the city as it is an exploration of the claim that people in Tel Aviv are isolated from the rest of the country and the turmoil it's going through. The movie looks at young people's lives in Tel Aviv through the POVs of gays and straights, Jews and Arabs, men and women. It all begins when Noam, a young Israeli soldier, serves in the reserve forces and meets at a check point a Palestinian young man called Ashraf. Following an incident during which Noam misplaces his ID card at the check point, Ashraf shows up on the doorstep of the apartment that Noam shares with a gay man and a straight woman. How will the meeting affect all of their lives? Written by
The play that several characters go to watch in this movie is a real play, "Bent" by Martin Sherman, which was first produced in 1979 in London (with Ian McKellen in the lead role) and then in New York (with Richard Gere taking over for McKellen). The play is about the persecution of gay people at the hands of the Nazis, and was one of the first works to bring attention to that aspect of the Holocaust. The play was made into the movie Bent. See more »
The Israeli/Palestinian conflict persists and while the world may be aware of the violence surrounding the division of the two countries, few have a clue to the other aspect of the division - the group of people who want peace and work toward eradicating the separation. Eytan Fox, in THE BUBBLE ('Ha-Buah'), has created a much needed alternative viewpoint of the schism, electing to tell a story that contains some fine humor, a lot of love, and a taste of brutal reality. It is a window into a situation that begs for understanding.
In Tel Aviv three close friends are roommates: Lulu (Daniela Virtzer), a beautiful young woman with strong opinions; Yali (Alon Friedman), a very 'out' gay young man who works in a popular café; and Noam (Ohad Knoller), a handsome, somewhat shy fellow who, in addition to his day job in a music shop, is a member of the National Guard and therefore spends his free time serving as a guard at the city's checkpoints. It is during one of these guard duty weekends that he meets a young Palestinian named Ashraf (Yousef 'Joe' Sweid), and a mutual attraction occurs. The three friends decide to 'stowaway' the illegally present Ashraf (whom they nickname with an Israeli name) and while Ashraf and Noam settle into a love relationship, Yali hires Ashraf at his café, and Yali and Lulu both proceed to find love interests, too. All goes well until Ashraf must return home for his sister's wedding. Though in Tel Aviv Ashraf has been able to be openly gay with Noam, life is far different in Jerusalem: Ashraf is told he must marry his sister's groom-to-be sister. In an attempt to rescue Ashraf from his fate, Noam and Lulu disguise themselves as French reporters to gain access to Ashraf. In a moment of supposed seclusion, Noam and Ashraf are discovered kissing by the groom-to-be, and this act gives cause for blackmail in order for Ashraf to remain 'in the closet'.
While the young people in Tel Aviv are dancing at an event to raise attention for peaceful coexistence, an attack occurs in Jerusalem - one that has grave consequences not only immediately, but also in the revenge mission Ashraf must now assume. The ending is tragic on many levels and it underlines just how serious the problem between these two countries is.
The acting is so very natural that from both the comedic and the tragic aspects the audience completely believes in these beautiful young people. The story finds the right balance between the serious and the lighthearted and it is this balance than makes Eytan Fox such a fine writer/director. More people should watch this important and very fine film. In Hebrew, Arabic, and English with subtitles. Grady Harp
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