by Jeff Walsh
The odds are stacked against them from the moment they meet. Noam is a part-time Israeli Army checkpoint attendant. Ashraf is Palestinian. Soon thereafter, Noam lets Ashraf stay in Tel Aviv illegally with his roommates: Lulu, a female clothing designer, and Yali, an openly gay restaurant manager.
Their relationship tries to exist outside of politics, a place that doesn't really occur in Tel Aviv. They find out they actually grew up near one another, but segregation of Arabs and Jews kept them apart when they were young, and that sentiment has only gotten worse since they were kids. Noam's roommates do their best to accept Ashraf into their circle of enlightened left political friends, but the foundation is always shaky.
Director Eytan Fox (Yossi and Jagger) sets this modern, gay Romeo and Juliet right at the biggest cultural, religious rift in the world, but keeps the story at a human level with its small cast of characters. While the weight of reality constantly applying pressure, they still try to share joyful moments together, fall in love, make love, and dance.
The story explores big themes that could have dwarfed if not outright lampooned the notion of a gay, cross-cultural love story at its center. But it holds up, which is a testament to the writers, director, and actors.
With a setting rife with suicide bombers, anti-gay oppression, and difficult choices, it would be nice to think this was a historic film and not the world we actually live in today. But that isn't the case.
The Bubble challenges its viewers, but only after thoroughly entertaining them, and leaving them with a lot to talk about after the credits roll.
If you complain that there are too many stereotypical movies about flamboyant characters that don't tackle important issues, your movie is here and is now playing in select theaters. Don't miss this important film.
For a listing of theaters where The Bubble is playing, click here.