Jewish Film Fest Features Gay Brilliant Bubble

By Lavender February 29, 2008

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The Minneapolis Jewish Film Festival once again dares to wrestle with controversial subject matter. This year, those subjects range from forbidden gay love between an Israeli and a Palestinian to the Holocaust. Twin Cities GLBT and allied viewers had less than a week last year to catch The Bubble when it played in Minneapolis. Luckily, they get another chance at the film fest, March 3, 9 PM, at Oak Street Cinema.

Director Eytan Fox works from an intersection of gay issues and the Israeli military. Some argue that his early Yossi and Jagger (2002) is his best film, and that Walk on Water (2004), which looks at the Massad, a secret service arm of Israel’s military state, is a lesser one.

The Bubble (2006) wrongly has been victimized by bitchy queen critiques that fear Fox’s subtlety. But that’s critics looking at art as sports stats. They overlook the complex unfolding that is the cinema of Eytan Fox. And, to be sure, The Bubble has its devotees.

In Bubble, Noam questions deeply the Palestinians’s lack of freedom of mobility, and the harsh treatment often exacted on them because of that—something seldom looked at in gay film.

Noam falls in love with Palestinian Ashraf (Yousef Sweid), who is being pressured by Hamas influences in his family to marry (a woman). Ashraf sneaks into Tel Aviv to spend time with Noam and his counterculture roommates, who plan “a rave against the occupation.”

Ashraf’s expanded consciousness from his time spent with the Israelis is profound. And a scene where the two star-crossed lovers watch a scene from the gay holocaust play Bent is sublime.

The Minneapolis Jewish Film festival, hosted by the Sabes JCC for the Arts and Humanities, also screens two films dealing with women’s issues: Arranged and Aviva My Love. The Holocaust is dealt with in I Have Never Forgotten You, and Mideast politics in Frozen Days and More than 1000 Words.

Films play at various Minneapolis venues. For more information, visit www.mplsjff.org.

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