Oriented is a documentary that allows its protagonists to speak for themselves. The film is an extended conversation focusing on three gay male Palestinians living in Tel Aviv.
Khadar is the scion of a prominent Palestinian family, Fadi is a Palestinian nationalist and Naim struggles with how to tell his family about his sexuality. Khadar and Fadi both have Jewish boyfriends, but all three struggle with the notion that the dominant Jewish Israeli society does not consider them fully citizens.
The three main characters and their friends joke about a Sephardic Jew who is a ‘second class’ citizen, and they acknowledge that Israel is to some extent a melting pot of citizens from all over the world yet there is a poignant awareness that to be Palestinian is different than to be Sephardic.
The film was made before last summer’s attack on Gaza, and the growing political tensions remind the men that in a time of war, they are considered the ‘enemy.’
Palestinian society does not make coming out easy. Although all three men are certain of their sexuality, they are not wholly comfortable as Palestinians. In a mythical future Palestinian State, they worry they will not be welcome.
Why can’t they wholeheartedly join the gay-tolerant culture of Tel Aviv? Well, they are not Jews and they are aware that they will never be fully accepted in Israel. They form a group called ‘Qambuta’ to fight gender and racial stereotypes.
Many of us look forward to a day when such identities are no longer necessary. Oriented was directed by Jake Witzenfeld. Many thanks to David Graver and Cool Hunting for hosting the film.