By David Walsh 

The Seder

  • Director: Justin Kelly
  • Country: Canada
  • Year: 2011
  • Duration12 min

Monday saw the screening of a number of LGBT themed shorts by the UKJFF, each exploring different attitudes to ‘coming out’ for different people at various stages in life. First up, ‘The Seder’ – a light hearted comedy about North American gay couple who choose seder night to ‘meet the parents’ – the premise being that Pesach is all about being free right so what could go wrong?  The platzing in the lead up to the big meet made me kvetch throughout, but at least resulted in a cathartic and unexpected giggle at the end.  

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Leo is Jewish and gay. He finally brings his boyfriend to meet the family, at a Seder dinner! (Screenshot from preview)

Zazaland

  • Director: Maayan Cohen
  • Country: Israel
  • Year; 2013
  • Duration: 12 min

The second film, ‘Zazaland’ gives us a peek in to the traditional world of Georgian/Israeli shidduchim – where a supposedly eligible opera singer (Gur) is about to be matched to a dour, younger woman. Watching Gur struggle between the juxtaposition of the life his parents are trying to carve for him contrasting with his closeted struggle for happiness is both amusing and touching throughout, but as with ‘The Seder’, the killer twist is in the final frames.

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A comedy about a Georgian family who tries to wed their homosexual son to a Georgian woman. (Screenshot from preview)

Natives

  • Director: Jeremy Hersh
  • Country USA
  • year: 2013
  • Duration: 20 min

‘Natives’, explored the story of a Jewish city girl and her Native American girlfriend on a weekend break to visit the native’s parents in the country.  Anita’s conservative parents are hard to impress, despite the curiosity of Jewish Rachel towards Native American culture and her awkward attempts at empathy. In one season she attempts to return a bracelet to her girlfriend’s mother – assuming that it is of tribal value – only to be told that it’s from Walmart. With such different approaches, seeing the girls trying to navigate their relationship is hard to watch and a reminder that cultural differences can often be underplayed. 

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A young woman meets her girlfriend’s parents for the first time.

 End of season sale

  • Director: Eli Glazer
  • Cast: Israel Gurion, Gedalia Besser, Omer Juran, Eran Rogel
  • Country: Israel
  • Year: 2014
  • Duration: 35 min

Perhaps the most considered and moving of the lighter hearted shorts, ‘End of Season Sale’ details the night that two mature men meet outside a shop one night in Tel Aviv.  Both looking for affection in different ways, we see one of the characters woo the other and prove that some of that old fashioned dating magic can only improve with experience and age. The film touches on the alienation felt by older gay men.

Late at night two aging strangers fail to obtain Viagra for a one night stand. The shortage of the desired blue pill turns out to be a blessing in disguise as the two strangers get a chance to exchange the pleasures of the flesh with the pleasures of the heart.

Late at night two aging strangers fail to obtain Viagra for a one night stand. The shortage of the desired pill turns out to be a blessing in disguise ..

Barely In Love

  • Director: Nadav Mishali
  • Country: Israel
  • Year: 2013
  • Duration: 16 min

Last to feature was ‘Barely In Love’ which gave an insight of the struggles of a Bnei Akiva youth movement worker torn between his ‘same sex attractions’ and a mother convinced that his homosexuality is something which can be overcome. Capturing the struggle that many people face on a daily basis, this frank and awkward emulation of life for a Modern Orthodox Israeli man struggling to accept himself in his community reminds us that whilst the Jewish community in general has become more open to LGBT individuals, there is still a long way to go in creating a more inclusive environment in many sectors of the community.

When a new troupe leader joins the “Bnai Akiva” boy scouts movement, Yotam’s world trembles. He is forced to cope with his sexual orientation and the difficulties he faces with family and religion, and is torn between his love of religion that forbids homosexuality and his mother who tries to “cure” him.

When a new troupe leader joins the “Bnai Akiva” boy scouts movement, Yotam’s world trembles. He is forced to cope with his sexual orientation and the difficulties he faces with family and religion, and is torn between his love of religion that forbids homosexuality and his mother who tries to “cure” him.