Paper Dolls is a documentary film by award winning filmmaker Tomer Heymann about a group of transvestite Filipinos who emigrate to Israel to take care of elderly religious Jewish men. On ...
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Paper Dolls is a documentary film by award winning filmmaker Tomer Heymann about a group of transvestite Filipinos who emigrate to Israel to take care of elderly religious Jewish men. On their one day off per week, they perform as drag performers in a group called the Paper Dolls. On the political level, it explores the perils of global immigration. In this case, after the second Intifada, the Israeli government unofficially opened its doors to illegal workers to replace the Palestinians who were no longer allowed in the country. As tensions with the Palestinians eased, the government changed its policy and began to forcibly deport these foreign guest workers with dramatic consequences for our characters. On the human level, the film is about people who are rejected by their own families for being gay/transvestite and who emigrate and end up with jobs taking care of other people's parents who have been rejected by their own children because they are old, difficult, etc. They work ... Written by
Paper Dolls was the opening film of the 2006 Jewish Film Festival in Amsterdam and was received with great enthusiasm. The story is of a group of Filipino migrant workers - rejected for being gay and transgender in their homeland - imported into Israel to care for elderly Jewish men and women, whose families could or would not care for them. The stark contrast between the old religious rabbi and his effeminate Filipino caretaker is just one of the many unlikely images that remain in your memory after seeing this film.
Important as well is the subject of migrant workers, usually coming from developing countries to fulfil a role in developed countries that no one else seems to want to fulfil. Be it caretakers of the elderly or factory workers or garbage collectors, the developing countries seem to think they can import and export people at will, without recognizing our common humanity, needs and skills.
The short but poignant everyday scenes where the elderly are being nursed or cared for will strike a chord of recognition in anyone who has ever cared for a sick or infirm friend or relative. The unlikely friendships that develop with the elderly are set off by the drag shows that the Filipino performers give on their day off. Director and four of the cast members were present and the Paper Dolls danced and sang for us in Hebrew and English, all dolled up and giving their utmost.
Kudos to all those involved in this most sensitive look at Israeli society through different eyes. It is a must see for any of us who have ever felt like outcasts in any society.
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