Film Review: GAYROUTH (France/Lebanon) Documentary

Played at the November 2016 Best of Short Documentary FEEDBACK Film Festival.

GAYROUTH 31min., France/Lebanon, Documentary
Directed by Charbel Raad

To be gay in Beirut, one of the most open minded capitals in the Middle East, which is sinking in the era of repressions, is not as easy as it looks. This documentary tells an exceptional and an uncommon story of two lives.

REVIEW by Kierston Drier: 

Sharp, poignant, heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny, Gayruth follows the raw, gritty stories to two homosexual men and their separate lives while living Lebanon, where homosexuality is still widely frowned upon. Hiding their lifestyles and identities from their families (and to some degree the film crew) it reminds us what a very grave risk our subjects take exposing themselves to film.

 

Gayrouth takes a journey through the uneasy realities of a homosexual lifestyle in Beirut, focusing on the struggles to carve out peace for ones’ self in a sea of disapproval from both the personal and public spectrum. Gayrouth must be commended on all the areas it covers in the short time it has to make its’ statements. It touches on the disconnect and even breakdown of family ties for those who are hiding their sexuality.  It explores the ostracisation of one from their community. Most tragically, it showcases the personal story of one man’s emotional and psychological breakdown after his isolation turns him to a life a anonymous sex, and his struggle to pull himself out of the abusive cycle.  

 

And yet, lingering in all these deep, intense and heavy emotional moments- are islands of laughter, beats of humor, images of happiness- the moments when one of our heros’ is with his partner. We see, through the closed doors of a life lived hidden away- the love that makes the sacrifice.

 

Gayrouth is an emotionally hard-hitting film, which takes a real look at the struggles and risks of what it means to be “out” in an unwelcoming place. However it also shows hope and happiness. It shows love that preserves. It shows lives worthy of loving without fear. For these reason, watch Gayrouth.

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