One of the students in my Lesbian & Gay Literature class last quarter recommended that I see The Bubble, a film by Eytan Fox. Fox in an Israeli director. I’d previously seen his films Yossi & Jagger and Walk on Water. Here’s the U.S. trailer for The Bubble:

I wrote about Walk on Water when I saw it last September. As I wrote then, I really disliked Fox’s Yossi & Jagger, but I enjoyed Walk on Water. With such mixed opinions about his previous work, I wasn’t sure I would like The Bubble, especially since it stars one of the lead actors from Yossi & Jagger and uses a song from Ivri Lider, who provided a key song for that movie too. Despite my misgivings, I really liked this movie. It’s a very good, thought-provoking film.

The Bubble tells the story of a love affair between two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian. Noam, played by Ohad Knoller, lives with two roommates in Tel Aviv. Near the end of his reserve duty at a check point, Noam meets Ashraf, played by Yousef ‘Joe’ Sweid. When Noam accidentally loses his ID card at the checkpoint, Ashraf returns it, and the two men make an instant connection.

While the two men get to know one another, Noam’s roommates embark on their own romantic liaisons. All three relationships are tested by the very real obstacles and issues raised by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but Noam’s budding relationship with Ashraf is particularly complicated due to the fact that Ashraf does not live in Tel Aviv and must return to his fundamentalist Muslim family. We soon learn that Ashraf’s new Brother-in-law is a member of Hamas, which ultimately forces the closeted Ashraf to make decisions about which loyalties and loved ones he will choose as the political environment becomes increasingly difficult.

The Bubble

Knoller (pictured here on the middle left) and Sweid (on the middle right) are both excellent in their roles. While on a realistic level, it’s difficult to image these two men falling in love so quickly (if at all). But these actors make their character’s actions and choices as believable as possible. Daniela Virtzer (on the far left) and Alon Friedman (on the far right) are also excellent as Noam’s roommates.

If you’ve seen one of Fox’s earlier films, you pretty much know where this one is headed. While his movies are gay movies, they are even more pointedly political movies. You can see this film’s political message coming a mile away, but unlike Yossi & Jagger The Bubble earns its ending.

The Bubble also makes good use of Ivri Lider’s “The Man I Love.” Here’s the video:

This is a great, romantic song. I’m starting to really like Lider’s music more broadly. Apparently, he’s a huge pop star in Israel. I can see why: he’s totally hot, and his music has heart to it.

And finally, I definitely recommend watching the special features documentary about the making of the movie. The featurette explains more about the main street on which much of the film is set, especially what that street means culturally in Israel. It adds a lot to the film to know this information, but you can’t watch the documentary until after you see it, since it gives away too much of the plot.

Overall, this is a really good movie. It’s romantic and political. It definitely gives you something to talk about afterwards!

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