At the age of 21 Saar Maoz arrived in the UK after being kicked out from his religious Kibbutz. Following the highs and lows that accompanied his newfound freedom Saar discovered an alternative family with The London Gay Men's Chorus. After 19 years, Saar has reached out to his conservative and religious Israeli family in an attempt at reconciliation. Now his parents are coming to visit...
Saar is an Israeli gay man who was thrown out of his Kibbutz for his sexual proclivities when he was 21. Coming from a Jewish background with close familial ties he decided there was no longer a place for him to ‘fit in’. So he left and rocked up in London.
It was whilst he was living a life of excess, by his own account, that his partner told him that he was ‘positive’ and so he had to be tested too and you can guess the rest. Meanwhile his relationship with his wider family had continued to suffer. The film tells the story of how he reaches out to his father and siblings to see if there is any common ground left that they might all be able to inhabit or would religious bias, old fashioned social attitudes and fear of his ‘infection’ mean that there was little hope.
Now this is a well made film that is essentially a personal journey on the part of Saar and it does challenge some universal issues. Not least that of being HIV and the effects that that can have both physically and emotionally. There is also the love and support he has received from all his friends in London that have helped sustain him. The wider family issues are very personal but will strike a chord with anyone who has been shunned, half understood or worse by a member of their family. At 85 minutes long it is a reasonable length too; it is mainly in English with some Yiddish that seems to be well translated and as such one that is recommended.
I was really looking forward to the film. I had high hopes but was disappointed. It is a very depressing 'fly on he wall' documentary exploring one gay man's journey to find reconciliation with his family who find it hard to accept his HIV status. Saar is an engaging guy but the more I watched the less I felt involved with his predicament.
Throughout the film, the Gay Men's Chorus (Saar is a member) provide a variety of songs but I found these intrusive. The interpolation of these musical selections didn't work for me, they made the whole thing seemed contrived and forced, I think the film-makers had good intentions and, at the film's heart is a powerful narrative, but this documentary misses the mark in my opinion. So, three (just) stars from me.
So many repetitive gay films. This particular film has its sad moments. Sad moments do not mean much when you come across a man who is borne with courage like the person depicted in the film. I felt uplifted and enjoyed seeing a man who knew who he is and had the strength to overcome the obstacles placed in his path. Try it it makes so much sense and life worthwhile.
An incredible documentary that explores the relationship between a gay son with HIV and his family. I was incredibly moved watching this powerful film. The songs performed by the London Gay Men's Chorus are beautifully interspersed throughout the film and support the story being total exceptionally well. A must see in my view.