Elevate Difference

Fucking Different: Tel Aviv

Fucking Different: Tel Aviv is the third installation of this international collaboration of visual storytelling, starting first in Berlin and New York City in a sense similar to Paris Je T'aime_and _New York, I Love You. Now, while I have not seen the previous two iterations, please allow me the privilege in speculating that Fucking Different: Tel Aviv may certainly be one of the bests in the romantic short film collection genre. The fifteen directors' short films together illustrate a beautiful panorama of diversity in myriad forms within a thriving and vibrant Middle Eastern and Mediterranean metropolis. They shed light on a host of issues such as the Right-Left divide in Israel, dealing with coming out, first love, ideas of masculinity and femininity and Judaism and homosexuality.

Tel Aviv has been called the “mini-Los Angeles” of the Middle East, but L.A. is a place that many say “no one comes from, rather they go to,” but the people in Fucking Different: Tel Aviv are fully present in the times that all residents of Tel Aviv are shaped by. In the first short story entitled “Political Sex”, two new lovers, Yossi and Tzuf must decide whether to be pragmatic or passionate when the discussion turns to politics. In this short piece we see that the gay community is no less driven by a right-left partisan divide. What ensues after said discussion is some visually enthralling sex. This is another reason why this documentary is appealing. These shorts do not conceal or shirk away from what, in reality is everyday life, rather they reveal the ordinary struggles of people who refuse to be ordinary.

Another poignant moment is found in the short containing the story of Emmanuel and Brigitte. We are introduced to a man applying makeup and discussing how Brigitte came to be and how she represents his identity as much as Emmanuel. The waters get even deeper as the story progresses. We learn that Emmanuel performs the oboe for the Tel Aviv Philharmonic and that had he not had that same courage to first perform as Brigitte at a local club, he may not have ever had the courage to reach for his dream and apply to the very competitive Berlin Philharmonic.

“Gay men after being called a 'sissy' or 'faggot' when they are young become fearful of their own femininity...” "Emmanuel/Brigitte" connects seamlessly with the knowing histories of every gay man who was called such names, myself included, when he uttered such a painful truth. The story of some gay adult men is the story of not just helping friends and family become comfortable with something that may be “foreign" or "different” to them, but also becoming comfortable within your own skin and learning to celebrate it, just as Emmanuel and Brigitte do.

Fucking Different: Tel Aviv mixes epicurean delights with sapphic ecstasy and has some of the most scintillating lovemaking between beautiful people while keying you into the notion that there are also some gays who don't fit the stereotype. They would be just fine with a night watching an entire season of Absolutely Fabulous rather than having sex. Make it Battlestar Galactica or Fringe and I'd probably give the same answer. Maybe it is my love of the diversity of a metropolis or simply my lust for Jewish men, but after screening this collection of short films I was ready to book the next flight to Tel Aviv.

Written by: Brandon Copeland, December 29th 2009

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