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Out in the Dark (Alata)

Movie Details

Out in the Dark (Alata)
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Release Date: 2013-09-27 LA
  • Running Time: 96 min.
  • Director: Michael Mayer
  • Cast: Nicholas Jacob, Michael Aloni, Jamil Khoury, Loai Nofi
  • Producer: Lihu Roter
  • Writers: Michael Mayer, Yael Shafrir
  • Distributor: Breaking Glass Pictures
  • Official Site: Out in the Dark (Alata) Official Site

When it's concerned with the most trying of lives in the most troubled of regions, it can feel petty to complain that a tragic-minded romantic thriller is laying things on too thick. Out in the Dark is the story of a closeted gay Palestinian man who falls in love with a Tel Aviv lawyer the same week or so that his--the Palestinian's--brother is stockpiling guns and murdering another gay Palestinian who crossed the border for the chance to be himself. And all that's before Israeli security forces get involved. The movie is involving, the romance affecting, the sex sound, and the catch-as-catch-can hand-held camera work smartly appropriate for the scenario--the film opens on Nimr (Nicholas Jacob), the Palestinian, skulking in and out of shadows just across from the Ramallah–Tel Aviv border, en route to an Israeli nightclub with a drag show, the last place his family would want him to go. It's a suspenseful and literal evocation of the film's title. Nimr meets Roy (Michael Aloni), an Israeli lawyer. Once they fall for each other, in bracingly intimate scenes, Nimr and Roy meet with an Israeli lawyer who specializes in helping gay Palestinians avoid being sent back. There's no easy solution, and Nimr bristles at the attempts. In his hometown, he has to keep his gayness secret; in Tel Aviv it's mostly accepted, but that's little comfort when Roy's parents see that their son has invited a Palestinian home for Shabbat dinner. This is rich, moving material, but each overbearing complication-- the terrorist brother, the threats from Israeli security-- feel willed, too coincidental, like melodrama less shrewdly judged than the romance itself.

Alan Scherstuhl

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