TV

Oriented: The lives of gay Palestinians in Israel

Documentary sheds new light in the LGBT community in the Middle East

Oriented (2015), a feature documentary film chronicling the lives of gay Palestinians living in Tel Aviv, Israel, has announced its release for digital steaming on Netflix, available worldwide in twenty-five languages on October 1, 2016.

Described as a "uniquely Middle Eastern spin on a classic coming-of-age tale" by Variety, and coined as a "refreshingly candid and revelatory documentary" by Dazed & Confused, Oriented follows the lives of three Palestinian friends exploring their national and sexual identity in contemporary Tel-Aviv.

This is also Jake Witzenfeld's first feature film, who spent the past three years living in Tel Aviv filming the everyday lives, conversations and realities of the characters in the film. Through excursions beyond Tel Aviv to Amman, Jordan and Berlin, Germany, Witzenfeld's camera captures the complexity of three gay men's perspective of the world, both at home and abroad.

As the LGBT community keeps growing in acceptance around the world, there are still many territories where being gay, or having a sexual orientation other than those stated by a religion, is still considered a crime against God and against humanity (a bit ironic, no?), so shedding light on the people that form this small community in one of the most dangerous places to be free sexually is not only important, but necessary.

Coincidentally, Tel Aviv has become (or at least is advertised as) the world's "top gay destination", growing tourism numbers from a couple of thousand in 2006 to over 50,000 in 2015. Yet, homophobic campaigns across Europe and the Mediterranean have increased this year, including some directly in Israel. So a lot of confusion around what really goes on in the area, especially around the occupied zones of the West Bank or Gaza. What is it really like to be LGBT there? This documentary shows part of the reality of these areas.

So remember, you want to see some real insight from the real people that live in Israel and Palestine, this documentary might be for you, even if some sectors of the LGBT community are claiming it's "pinkwashed". Oriented will be available on all Netflix territories worldwide starting on October 1, 2016.

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Didn't like what you read? You can complain directly with the author in his twitter account @Jorgepilgrim. Jorge was born in Mexico City but grew up in Tijuana. He is a film critic, musician, screenwriter and a pretty mediocre actor.

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