Gay but not queer: Toward a post-queer study of sexuality
Israeli cinema has been more mainstream and gay than subversive and queer. But that may be about to change. We begin this piece with some trivia. In the past nine years, five Israeli movies grossed more than two million dollars in the US.
Now, two million dollars for a small foreign language art film is a lot of money. Rare are the foreign films that reach it, and before no Israeli film had ever passed that benchmark. The five successful filmmakers who did are: Now, here is the crazy part: That makes it, albeit somewhat belatedly, the most successful film class in Israeli cinema history.
With his keen eye for blending pop and politics, Fox has been one of the most successful Israeli directors with international audiences. After a six year hiatus, following the domestically ill-received The Bubble , Fox bounced back this year. Two films in less than a year is a rare feat for an Israeli filmmaker, let alone two good films that are also so radically different in tone.
Not Queer, Just Gay. No, Thanks. | HuffPost
This change in mood is not uncharacteristic for Fox, who oscillates wildly between happy and sad, heavy and light, sometimes within a single movie. The two best known films in his career — Walk On Water in and The Bubble in — were light entertainments with tragic undertones. Walk On Water dealt with the memory of the Holocaust in present day Israel, depicting youngsters who prefer to block out the memory and who consider Germany a safe haven for Israeli students and artists. The Bubble painted Tel Aviv as an eternal escapist party-town, until the bubble is shattered by a suicide bombing.
Fox is also one of the only mainstream directors that has dealt directly with gay subject matter. As an openly gay filmmaker, and a vocal spokesperson for gay rights in Israel, five of the six films Fox has directed have dealt directly with gay characters and issues.
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The only exception, his debut The Song of the Siren , featuring a young Yair Lapid in a supporting role, is something rare in Israel, a by-the-book romantic comedy with a gay undercurrent that wittily subverts the genre. Incidentally, Fox is credited with directing the first gay kiss on Israeli television, on his hit TV series Florentine in But it seems that for all his gay-rights activism and gay-themed storylines, Fox has a cinematic agenda: Rather, Fox clings to the mainstream, featuring the same characters and storylines you might find in any Israeli film — typically including the soldier or warrior — with the added trait that the character is either gay himself, or obliged as in Walk on Water to make an acquaintance with someone gay.
Fox is saying through his movies that whether male or female, gay or straight, Arab or Jewish, we are all an equal part of the same narrative. Yet, for a city so famous for its gay night life, Israeli narrative films are quite conventionally straight. Indeed, a range of taboos that are common in Western movies, such as sex or drug use among teens, are disregarded here and gay characters are not that rare.
But apart from Fox, Israeli cinema does not have any major gay filmmakers, or an alternative Queer new wave, to complement its gay-friendly status. That said, Fox is not the first Israeli filmmaker to deal with homosexuality. Between and , Gutman, who passed away in at the age of 39, broke the mould of Israeli filmmaking by directing Queer Movies before they were known as such. His films were highly stylised; bold, brash, and sometimes flamboyant, while at other times almost timid, and always tremendously moving.
The gay community idolised Gutman; in the s and early s, when Tel Aviv was slowly coming out of the closet, his stories about outcasts were cult hits and hymns of liberation.
Israeli cinema: gay but not queer
Although no new distinctively gay filmmaker has emerged in Israeli cinema for nearly two decades, that may be changing. Though Kedar is reluctant to label herself, either personally or artistically, her debut film tells the violently anarchic, comic, and utterly romantic story of two girls in love and on the run. Kedar already has three new feature films lined up, in different phases of production, and different aesthetic styles, from the experimental to the more conventional.
Related Stories. Maybe if my life experiences were those of the younger team members who run this page, I'd get some cheap thrill out of using the term. I don't. I just relive a lot of suffering because of it.
It is part of who I am; I can't change what I experienced. In the surprise announcement Noah Michelson makes it clear his experience with the word wasn't traumatic. He says, the page needs to be more inclusionary and "queer" is more inclusionary. As to why they didn't call it "Queer Voices" from the start he writes, "some people felt that the term was too controversial, too divisive and, because of its history as a slur, perhaps just too painful to use.
Well, it is controversial ; the almost universally negative comments I saw following his surprise announcement proves that. It is divisive and it is painful. Inclusionary only includes people without those painful experiences. You can't be inclusionary and divisive at the same time.
What I think, or what other writers or readers think, is pretty much irrelevant.
The change is presented as a fait accompli. Inclusion doesn't include very many people. I didn't live Mr. Michelson's life. He sure didn't live mine. He thinks, "Queer" functions as an umbrella term that includes not only the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people of "LGBT," but also those whose identities fall in between, outside of or stretch beyond those categories, including genderqueer people, intersex people, asexual people, pansexual people, polyamorous people and those questioning their sexuality or gender, to name just a few.
Fair enough, but it also excludes all the asexual, polyamorous, pansexuals, gays, bisexual, lesbians and transgender individuals who find "queer" insulting, degrading and painful. It excludes huge segments of the community, who didn't have Mr. I'm glad he didn't have my life. From the moment I came out on radio in to oppose the Anita Bryant campaign, I've been fighting so that no one has to have the life I had. I don't want kids today to know the pain of being called "queer," pain that was often as physical as it was emotional. To have it inflicted us by our allies is no less traumatic and painful.
If anything, it is worse. I don't expect human decency or understanding from the bigots. But, here I feel as if I'm again being told I'm not welcome, I'm an outsider. I'm not one of the "in-kids" that everyone had to make happy. My pain, my experience--they don't matter. Once again, thanks to the "queer" term, I'm being locked out and excluded.
I've never denied another person the right to embrace whatever term they want. But, I'm not embracing "queer," it is being imposed on me, just like it was when I was growing up.click here
Not Queer, Just Gay. No, Thanks.
Now, if I choose to continue contributing to this page, the word "Queer" will be emblazoned across the top of the page. It will be attached to my columns, regardless of my wishes. I know had this page been originally called Queer Voices, I wouldn't have bothered contributing to it, or reading it for that matter. I'm just one writer in the community of mostly unpaid contributors. But, I don't feel like the community is mine anymore. I've been kicked out. I'm here, I'm not queer, get used to it. Actually, the "I'm here" part is what I'm left reconsidering.