USA/Israel/Palestine, 2009, 66 minutes
Sun, Apr 26 / 2:00 / PFA / CITY26P
Thu, Apr 30 / 9:30 / Kabuki / CITY30K
Mon, May 4 / 9:15 / Kabuki / CITY04K
Wed, May 6 / 12:15 / Kabuki / CITY06K
The Israel-Palestine conflict is seen anew through a rainbow of sexual identity in this heartfelt documentary centered on the diverse denizens of Jerusalem’s lone gay bar, a haven of unity amid the region’s seemingly eternal clash of cultures and religious strife. Presided over by tenacious proprietor Sa’ar, who serves as the film’s political conscience and is also the first openly gay man elected to public office in the Holy City, Shushan is a colorful nexus of community engagement, hands-in-the-air dancing and late-night flirting, and a safe space for queers of all backgrounds to congregate. “It was like finding fresh water in the middle of the desert,” a bar regular marvels. Among Shushan’s patrons are Jewish Israeli doctor Ravit, whose relationship with Palestinian-Israeli nurse Samira earns a double “oy vey” from her mother; and Boody, a devout Muslim Palestinian who receives death threats in his West Bank hometown of Ramallah, where his flamboyant drag queen persona, Miss Haifa, isn’t welcome, and whose no-nonsense mother prays daily for her son not to be gay. First-time feature director Yun Suh deftly balances the many dichotomies with which her remarkably candid subjects must contend as they bravely shun societal mandates and cut through barbed wire fences in pursuit of self.
Tongzhi in Love
In this visually stunning short, a candid trio of alternately serious and campy young men discuss the difficulties and covert thrills of gay life in modern-day China, where family ties and cultural traditions challenge formations of sexual identity. (Ruby Yang, USA 2008, 30 min)
In English, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles. Presented in association with the Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project and Bay Area Women In Film and Media. GGA Documentary Feature Contender. North American Premiere.