Vancouver Queer Film Festival: Yariv Mozer’s documentary depicts life of the gay and ‘invisible’ in Tel Aviv
From the opening scenes of the documentary The Invisible Men, it’s clear that filmmaker Yariv Mozer is telling a unique story. The film’s central figure, Louie, is shown describing an encounter with his father, who threatened him with a knife after he found out his son was gay. Louie still has a scar across his cheek from the altercation.
After that incident, Louie fled his home of Nablus in the West Bank to live illegally in Tel Aviv, where he has spent years hiding out and working odd jobs under the table. Louie’s story isn’t the only one we are told throughout the film. We are also introduced to another gay Palestinian, Abdu, as he prepares to seek asylum in a European country.
In one memorable scene, the two men are seen singing nostalgically in Arabic as they observe the scenery of Tel Aviv around them. The choice to leave is much tougher for Louie, who isn’t sure he wants to leave his homeland, learn a new language and start anew at the age of 31. But Abdu reminds him of the situation they face here.
“The Palestinians won’t accept us because we’re gay, and the Israelis won’t accept us because we’re Palestinians without a permit, and we’re ‘illegal’,” he tells him. This unique documentary offers a powerful view of the challenge faced by men who are forced to live illegally, or ‘invisibly’, due to their sexual orientation.
The Vancouver Queer Film Festival presents The Invisible Men on Wednesday (August 22) at 7 p.m. The film will be followed by a discussion on refugee protection featuring members of the Rainbow Refugee Committee.