Another film with an ‘across the border’ love story is ‘Out in the Dark’, a story of two men who meet at a gay bar and start a relationship; something so many people do without having to think of any practicalities. For Nimr and Roy, though, there is the fact that one is Palestinian and the other Israeli.
Nimr crosses the border to Tel Aviv from his West Bank village to study at the university. His permit allows him to travel to the city where he can experience a gay friendly life and forget, at least until he has to travel home again, his traditional village where nobody knows he is gay. When he meets Roy, a young, liberal lawyer, a different life where he can express himself openly becomes a possibility. He is never free of his family’s values, though, and staying with Roy offers only a temporary respite.
The director, Michael Mayer, has crafted a film made poignant by the inevitability that the geographical context will spoil the happiness both men have found in each other. Nimr has a brother whose militancy does not rule out violence and the security forces see a way of trapping him by using the more innocent student to spy for them. Roy, too, has constraints in parents who accept but do not understand their son’s sexuality but who are absolutely clear about where their loyalties lie when it comes to their community.
Love is where it falls but both Nimr and Roy have to decide whether their loyalties are to their communities or to each other. This film succeeds in its aim to be both a love story and a thriller.
‘Out in the Dark’ is in my hinterland. What’s in yours?