Garden – (Israel, 2004)

garden filmIn a run-down neighborhood of Tel Aviv known as the Garden, gay hustlers and drug dealers play their trade. Here, documentary filmmakers Adi Barash and Ruthie Shatz spent a year following Nino, a 17-year-old illegal Palestinian, and his 18-year-old friend Dudo, an Israeli Arab. Despite their grim circumstances, Nino and Dudo survive on mutual friendship and dream of a future elsewhere. While showing a segment of Israeli life seldom seen on film,

Garden also presents a frank consideration about the urge to find one’s place in the world.The Garden is a desolate section of Tel Aviv where young gay prostitutes and drug addicts gather. It’s a territory for the dispossessed (the irony of its name not lost on anyone who enters or escapes) and for pickups, drug deals, and clashes with the law. Over the course of one year, filmmakers Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash follow two young men who have made the Garden their home: Nino, a 17-year-old Palestinian living illegally in Israel, in and out of jail and reformatories; and Dudu, an Arab-Israeli self- destructing under the debilitation of drug addiction.

The young men give Shatz and Barash tremendous access into the most intimate aspects of their lives. The filmmakers, ever mindful of the trust they have earned, create a powerfully honest film, affording Nino and Dudu respect and dignity all too often denied them in their daily lives. Against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the unease and ridicule still directed toward homosexuals, the two friends depend on …

Appeared at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival.

Award of Excellence Yamagata International Documentary Festival 2005
Best Documentary Film Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival 2005
Best Documentary New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival 2004
Special Mention Seville European Film Festival 2004
Grand Jury and Directing Award Madrid Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2004
Special Mention Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival 2004


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