ALATA

2012
96'
Israelvo: he
sub: fr

Synopsis

Two young men — a Palestinian grad student and an Israeli lawyer — meet and fall in love amidst personal and political intrigue in this striking debut feature from Israeli director Michael Mayer. Rarely has the emotional, human toll of the Israel-Palestine conflict been explored in such immediate, affecting and sensual detail. In the opening sequence of the film, Palestinian graduate student Nimr (newcomer Nicholas Jacob) meets Israeli lawyer Roy (Michael Aloni) at a Tel Aviv nightclub. Their mutual attraction is instant, and they quickly fall in love. Torn between a homeland that would renounce him for his sexual identity, and an Israel that repudiates him for his nationality, Nimr finds a safe haven in Roy, and hopes one day to continue his studies in America. But when his Israeli student visa is suddenly revoked, he and Roy must work feverishly to keep Nimr from being deported. Adding further adversity to the relationship is Nimr’s conservative family, who remain ignorant of his sexuality and the nature of his comings and goings in Tel Aviv. His brother Nabil (Jameel Khouri), meanwhile, is a dedicated Palestinian political activist who has turned to increasingly violent means of furthering his cause. Family loyalties, political tensions and personal struggles force Nimr to decide between his dream of a life abroad and his love for Roy. The chemistry between the two leads is palpable : Jacob and Aloni bring an electric intensity to Nimr and Roy’s physical and spiritual connection, and convey the emotional complexities of two men embarking on a relationship that their world deems unacceptable — even dangerous. The tactile quality of the mostly handheld digital cinematography gives Out in the Dark a lush yet low-key realism, while the screenplay by Mayer and Yael Shafrir imbues this deeply felt love story with broader political implications. Is it possible, the film keenly asks, to keep one’s personal life separate from the struggles of one’s homeland and people ?

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