10 BEST ISRAELI GAY MOVIES (that even includes some which don’t end in tragedy!)
Over recent years Israel has become a great source for LGBT movies that have found an eager worldwide audience. Probably the most successful and prolific filmmaker who has emerged from there is Eyton Fox who along with his writing/producing/life partner Gal Uchovsky could fill half of the slots on this list alone. Reflecting the political unrest in the region many of the movie that have emerged are deep and dark so we have trawled our library at THE GAY UK at looked at as many different Israeli movies as we could find : both big hits and small wonders to give you our very comprehensive choice of our 10 BEST to make you laugh and cry.
Here they are in alphabetical order.
Two days before his 30th birthday Omer has still not ‘found himself’ let alone a boyfriend too. But then as he hides away in the library where he works he only sees books on life and not the real thing. And his cute 20-year blind date dancer is sadly not it either, and then just when he is about to give up he meets Ronan. Turns out he was looking for love in all the wrong places. Touching romantic comedy from writer/director Yair Hochner. BUY ON ITUNES | BUY ON AMAZON
CITY OF BORDERS
This excellent documentary follows the lives of five different and totally diverse gay men and women in Israel who’s common link is the fact that they all hang out in Shushan, Jerusalem’s only gay bar. This is the one place where gays and lesbians of all nationalities, religions and social backgrounds can forget their differences for a few brief hours and hopefully have some fun. The Bar has since closed, but the memories remain.
EYES WIDE OPEN
A handsome stranger turns the life of a Hassidic family butcher upside down when they act on their mutual attraction. This beautiful story of how conflicted a modern ultra-orthodox life can be, tells, its story quietly and responsibly without sensationalizing this sensitive issue at all, making it even more powerful and moving. An impressive directing debut from Haim Takabkamn, it gives the best insight into gay Orthodox Jews outside of a documentary that I have ever seen, and is heart wrenchingly wonderful too.
Israeli filmmaker Nitzan Gilady crammed his parents and two grown up brothers and one sister in law into an R.V. to travel thousands of miles across the USA for a week to go visit the Grand Canyon. Anybody who has had to deal with raw emotional exchanges with their own family (isn’t that all of us?) will really relate to this wonderful wee documentary, although in my case, it has put me off RVs for life!
OUT IN THE DARK
This heart string tugging movie of forbidden love from LA based Israeli newbie director/writer Michael Mayer is the story of how being gay just adds yet one more obstacle to living in this troubled region. The convincingly very real love story between an Israeli Jew and a Palestinian Arab who have to make some very tough choices just survive is totally unmissable. BUY ON ITUNES | BUY ON AMAZON
If I had been forced to pick my absolute favorite of all-Israeli gay movies, it would probably be this one. In this remarkable and moving take on ‘Romeo & Juliet’ director Eyton Fox’s story of a Middle-Eastern tragic romance that crosses the racial divide, will not leave a dry eye in the house. Completely wonderful.
The only way that handsome young Louie can be openly gay is to leave his home in Ramallah and sneak across the border to Tel Aviv. The trouble is as he is Palestinian he is illegal and so is constantly hunted down by the Israeli authorities who then drop him back home where he could be killed because of his sexuality. This remarkable new award-winning documentary from Israeli filmmaker Yariv Mozer tracks Louie as he goes about his harrowing daily life, which does (thank God) have somewhat of a happy ending. BUY ON ITUNES
SNAILS IN THE RAIN
A rather intriguing drama about repressed homosexual feelings and desire set in 1989 acutely brings back an era when lust was often hidden and unrequited. The movie, based on a short story by Yossi Avni Levy who is (most intriguingly) currently the Israeli Ambassador in Serbia, was directed and written by Yariv Moser and starred talented & newbie actor Yoav Reuveni (who’s an ex underwear model)
WALK ON WATER
A homophobic Mossed Agent is assigned to befriend a young gay German to try and establish if his late Grandfather was a notorious Nazi. This tense and compelling thriller, which was Eytan Fox’s sophomore film, went on to becoming the 2nd highest grossing Israeli film in their domestic market.
YOSSI & JAEGAR
Eytan Fox’s multi-award winning drama about a initially hesitant romance that slowly blooms into an old-fashioned style love affair between two soldiers stationed in an Israeli outpost on the Lebanese border. A heartbreaking tearjerker of the finest sort.
P.S. Fox’s later sequel ‘Yossi’ which it’s surprisingly upbeat ending should also be on this list, but I wanted to give other filmmakers a chance too.
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And highly commended comes
A MATTER OF SIZE
A group of delightful obese Israelis abandoned their unhappy (and unsuccessful) Diet Club to take up Sumo wrestling which they have the perfect shape. This odd collection of engaging men includes a closeted gay who is so happy to ‘come out’ when he stumbles on gay bear culture. A joyous wee gem of a comedy.