Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Border Lines

A true highlight of the Frameline International LGBT Film festival last night was The Bubble. Directed and co-written by Eytan Fox, it's a dramatic, painful, sexy and sad tale of an Israeli and Palestinian gay love affair torn by personal and political conflicts.

There were rumors of a protest to take place at the screening. Some people (anti-Zionist, anti-occupation, pro-Palestinians, of course) apparently stood outside handing out flyers critiquing Frameline for allowing the Israeli Consulate to fund the director's trip to San Francisco. There are other issues of Frameline's support from Israel. Fortunately, as Fox asked before the screening when he was introduced, nobody interrupted the screening.

When Fox's previous film Jossi and Jagger was screened a few years ago (a love affair between two Israeli soldiers), immediately after the film, a couple of people waddled up onstage and unfurled a barely legible banner they'd hidden on the side of the Castro Theatre. They stood there, stupidly while a few other anti-Israel people shouted this and that, until others just shut them up. Outside, a few others were screaming like idiots. It wasn't what one could call good PR.

Having done some rather well-orchestrated protests in my ACT UP days, I can only be relieved that these people adjusted their doofy techniques. The fact that a feature film about gay men in this conflicted part of the world got funding from the Israeli government and the Israeli Army is an accomplishment.

As Fox said, the timing of its release last year in Israel was unfortunate, as more violence broke out a week after it was in theatres. Watching and supporting the film was seen as counter to the rise of nationalism there. The Bubble recounts the atmosphere of denial in Tel Aviv.

It's odd that gay and lesbian people would be so bent on protesting a well-made film while supporting Palestine, which has yet to recognize LGBT people at all. But consistency isn't the forté of such protests.

Yes, Israel has done awful horrendous things with bombings and killings. But so have the many Palestinian suicide bombers and return attacks. It's much larger than I'm able to discuss here.

I just fund it appropriate that here in San Francisco, the biggest liberal "bubble" in America, people still sometimes seem out of touch with reality.

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