Out in the Dark – Michael Mayer, 2012.
After a HUGE leap of time without writing on here, a period in which I have not really been slacking off, but getting involved in various film events, such as the Take One Action Film Festival and Africa in Motion to name a few, Now I am back on track, inspired and energized as I have not been in quite a long time. I am here, crouched on my deep blue lining duvet, pondering all emotional on a beautifully shot piece of history, which is Out in the Dark.
The movie was conceived by director Michael Mayer with the two main actors Nicholas Jacob and Michael Aloni, a fresh and gut-twisting difficult love story between two young men living in two different Middle Eastern cities, a Palestinian student and an Israeli lawyer. I know what you’re thinking – there must be some troubles lurking in the darkness, and that this is something we don’t see that often on the big screen – but this is the reality, a harsh and dry heartbreaking experience many young women and men face on a daily basis. How unfair love can be, or maybe how terrible is the world we live in, where instead of valuing love and promoting genuine human relationship ,we just put our lives in trouble by fuelling our negative energy and disruption towards each other, regardless of sex and gender? Nimr Mashrawi (Nicholas) is a Palestinian Psychology student, whose bright mind and wit make him hungry for experience and knowledge and dreams of studying in Israel, or maybe in the U.S. Too bad his background is highly religious and patriotic, and the image of his brother mirrors the anger and despair Palestinian people suffer from nowadays; the war and catastrophe blind our minds and violence seems to be only way out. In fact, his brother is a terrorist whose plotting against Israel and promoting of conservative Islamic religious values in which homosexuality is more of a disregard to the family oand has to be expelled from the face of planet Earth.
When Nimir gets to know to a young professional lawyer, Roy Schaefer (Michael), in an Israeli nightclub, the two start a complicated relationship that reverses the hatred of Israel and Palestine that people feel; they go beyond religious and economic interest to finally embrace what comes more natural to humans, genuine love. Things start getting worse when Nimir’s gay friend Mustafa gets killed following his expulsion from his family for his sexual orientation and the escape from Palestine where terrorists and clans hunt religious betrayers. From that moment on, Nimir’s life in is serious danger. He is a pawn of a scheme he is aware of, yet not fully conscious of the danger he is to face. He is often seen with Roy at night and, straight away, his brother, head of a serious terrorist organization, ejects him from Palestine sparing him an atrocious death. When Nimir finds shelter at Roy’s in Israel, his family gets caught and arrested for terrorism in Palestine and he suddenly becomes the most wanted person by the Palestinian’s government.
-Could you believe how complicated things can get? Why social values and violence overcome genuine feelings and make a bright young life a living hell?-
Now Nimir relies on Roy, whose connections as a lawyer eventually help and achieve his escapism towards France. Roy, in the meantime gets caught by the police and will be thrown in jail for the rest of his life. This is an outrageous canvas of life in certain places in the world. Nimir will never get his permit to study in Israel and become probably the most clever and ambitious psychologist of people who’ve been suffering from war traumas, Roy is obliged to spare his life to let his love live and escape his harsh reality.
What really compels me is the lack of international support from scholars and academias, the ignorance and the religious pressure on people. We have to study these social issues, experience them and act accordingly. We have to spur people to do more, to interact with different cultures to open our eyes and discern human to suffer-provoking, show support and aid towards communities around the world on our daily routines. I was born in a capitalistic society where individualism is key and wealth collection is of foremost importance, but I do not want that. I want co-operation between countries and people in general, to promote values of love and human relationship over wars and economic interests, to make Palestinian and Israeli people decide if the reality they are living is the right one for them or not, without any government and religious obligations. The world lacks of subjectivity, everywhere, and I hope that if you are reading this you are sensing and feeling the hope I have and many people have, and I spur you to watch Out in the Dark with wide-open eyes, seeing the big canvas and not zooming up to much.