Gay. Palestinian. Israeli.
Three identities that seem, at first, to be at odds but are intrinsic to the three men at the heart of the documentary Oriented, which will start streaming on Netflix on October 1.
The daring new film explores the identities, connections and obstacles—both personal and political—at play in the the lives of three close friends, all of whom are gay Palestinians living in Israel.
Khader, described as “a Tel Aviv ’darling,'” has a Jewish partner but feels hopeless about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and about his own life. His friend, Fadi, has started to fall for a passionate Zionist, while Naeem struggles to come out to his family.
The three men formed Qambuta, an activist group determined to bring gender and sexual equality for Palestinians living in Israel.
“Whenever people consume content about Israel-Palestine, they immediately expect this stark black-and-white… I think what’s so amazing is that, with this film, we managed to create a gray space,” director Jake Witzenfeld, who is straight and Jewish, told Out magazine.
“I want people to be confused, to question what they had believed and question what this film has made them come to believe. This film is about Palestinians, but we’re not asking our audience to pick sides; we’re just sharing their reality, their lives.”
Oriented is a radical story depicting with personal turmoil and national unrest, but also camaraderie and love.
The original title of the film was The Misfits, but Witzenfeld decided against that connoted victimization. “Oriented,” on the other hand, “suggests a transcending of that, I think. It’s a more positive understanding. It’s coming to terms with your identity.”