Photo credit: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Out-In-The-Dark-עלטה-ظلام/235557469872298
Cut and pasted from the BFI Website:
Out in the Dark (Alata), Israel-USA 2012
A powerful and sensitive love story from Israel, set against the backdrop of political conflict.
When Nimr, a Palestinian graduate student, meets Israeli lawyer Roy in a nightclub, their attraction to each other is immediate. Despite some initial hesitation, Nimr calls Roy a few days later and the two begin dating, quickly falling in love and looking towards a future together.
Forced to confront the realities of a Palestinian society that will not accept his sexuality, and an Israeli society that rejects his nationality, Nimr finds solace in Roy’s arms, and dreams of a day when he can continue his studies in the United States. Keeping his sexuality a secret from his conservative family, the difficulty of Nimr’s situation deepens with his brother’s increasingly violent activism as part of an extremist group.
As personal and political tensions grow, Nimr realises he must make a choice between his love for Roy and his dreams of a life abroad.
Tales of forbidden passion are frequently told in gay cinema, but here director Michael Mayer approaches his subject with striking originality and a compelling immediacy, deftly weaving the backdrop of the Israel-Palestine conflict into his sensitive love story. At heart a hugely affecting relationship drama, propelled by two heartfelt performances from Nicholas Jacob and Michael Aloni as Nimr and Roy, Out in the Dark is guaranteed to get pulses racing with both its taut thrills and sweeping romance.
I saw this today - on Tuesday 19 March - at the BFI as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival.
Although this is a gay love story, and I saw it as part of the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, this film is for everyone. It is a profoundly moving love story, of the love that dare not speak its name, between an Israeli and a Palestinian, who meet in a Tel Aviv nightclub, and the trials and tribulations that then ensue.
I was totally blown away by this film - it gripped me by the scruff of the neck right from the start and it did not let go! I thought it was simply superb.
It is primarily a love story, so its focus is very much personal, but it is set against the political backdrop of the Palestine/Israel Middle East conflict.
The political dimension is very much covered eg permits required by Palestinians to access Israel, the Palestinian fight back / "terrorism", LGBT Palestinians having to flee their homeland if they are "outed", their subsequent fight for asylum, what happens to "Israeli collaborators", the work of the Israeli Security Services etc. However, the focus is always on the personal - the two leads and their families, and their love story - so the politics is accessible and not too "heavy".
The love story is very moving and both lead actors are amazing. The instant spark and attraction, and the growing and deepening love between the two men, is 100% believable. You "buy" the fact that both men would pay a heavy price to be together.
Some of the scenes are beautifully observed and captured eg the scene where Roy brings Nimr home to meet his parents. And some of the scenes are shocking and depressing eg the scene when Nimr's family finds out that he is in a gay relationship.
The Palestinian attitude to LGBT people shocked and saddened me. The film has not yet been shown in Palestine, presumably because of the "controversial" content (ie it features a gay Palestinian man). I find it deeply depressing when one human being can't relate to another human being on the grounds of ethnicity, nationality, sexuality, gender, disability etc.
The ending is left deliberately open, so you will ultimately decide the fate of the doomed (?) lovers.
One of the greatest compliments you can pay a foreign language film is when you are so engrossed in the film that you don't even realise it is a foreign language film - this was definitely the case with Out in the Dark.
One line review: Very powerful and moving. Thought-provoking. Outstanding!
The film has a UK distributor and will hit UK cinemas in June. I am getting in early and saying that you will DEFINITELY want to see this film - it is highly highly highly recommended by me!
Finally, this was the Accenture Gala and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Accenture for the free chocolate (Green and Black's no less!) and free water that they gave to all their audience members - it was very much valued and appreciated - a real treat! :)