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City of Borders
dir. Yun Jong Suh / USA 2009 / 66’
subtitles: Polish and English
Documentaries / essays

Film description

The starting point of the City of Borders is very simple. The 36-year-old Sa'ar Netanel dared to establish Shushan - the first and only ever existing gay and lesbian club in Jerusalem, the holy city for three great religions. At first, the camera enters the club, vilified by the pious inhabitants of Jerusalem, and then it follows people who come here, exploring their everyday life, looking into their houses.

This is probably the most ideological film at this year's festival, and still, although clearly siding with the main characters, it opposes any ideology as such. Boody, the faithful Muslim from Ramallah struggles through wire entanglement in the night just to have fun on the Jewish side. The Palestinian Israeli atheist Samira prepares the Shabbat together with her Jewish girlfriend. Adam smilingly admits that he finds scars of an assault by an orthodox Jew very sexy.

What is said in City of Borders - about the need for tolerance or maintaining identity (this issue is so traumatic for the Jewish nation) - may seem obvious. But when it is said by people who have to fight against their own mothers, against hierarchs of all three religions, suddenly united in their anger, even against gays from Tel Aviv, who, too, believe Jerusalem is sacred, it is hard to push aside its significance.

Ania Lechowicz

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