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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
This is a sweet, poignant look at young lives and loves in Tel Aviv and the damning, degrading effects of the political landscape around it. The central characters laughingly call Tel Aviv "the Bubble" because it seems insulated from the conflict between Israel and Palestinian Territories. As the movie brings to light, that is clearly not the case. The hatred, anger, blind violence, "otherization" and decades (centuries?) of mistrust on both sides color everything and everyone the question becomes are they blind to it or just so scarred they can't recognize it.
The movie focuses on the relationships familial, sexual and friendships between three long-time friends, two gay men and one hetero woman. Their chemistry and crazy lives would make for an entirely enjoyable romantic comedy without the layers of cultural context and history, but with the addition of, it creates a memorable, urgent and rewarding story.
When one of the men falls for a gay Palestinian, their bubble is popped irreversibly as they are all forced to confront the realities of life in a region defined and seemingly sustained by hatred. And being a gay Palestinian, it would seem, means twice the agony and hardships as there is little tolerance for alternative life styles within that culture and religion. That's less the case in Israel, at least according to the movie.
I appreciated the straightforward, unflinching approach the film brought to the love scenes, regardless of orientation. The sex scenes between the men were just as sweet, tentative and passionate more so in fact than the sex scenes featuring the girl. Even though the movie is now six years old, this approach resonates with me because same-sex scenes usually lack the same panache as different-sex scenes, at least in Hollywood style movies. (Hollywood, check the election results and get with the times; love is love).
The entire cast was effective, but Daniella Wircer as Lulu was awesome. She had such great energy; truly a rare talent.
This is a fine movie and one that, it seems to a westerner, excavates the Israeli/Palestinian conflict effectively and without finger-pointing. It also reminds us that we all have a role to play in ending hatred and cycles of violence.
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