Sunday, January 27, 2008

Movie Review- Trembling before G-d

FranIAm has mentioned this film to me several times and each time I think, I need to see that. I think I have seen it before and after watching it, I was right. I had seen it before, but it is such an interesting and well made documentary that I am glad I saw it again. This film looks at individuals who are homosexual while also being very observant Jews. It looks at the prohibition against homosexuality as it is written about in the Torah (Bible) and how this affects individuals who are gay. There are several different people, both male and female who are profiled in this movie. Each of them has their own story and their own demons to face. Each of them also face a different reaction from their family. Many of them are shunned from their community and family, but it seems as though at least one of them has a better relationship with their parents. They all seem to have a partner in their lives that help them to cope with these issues as it seemed most of them were also with very observant Jews. The movie seems to touch upon the same issues that occur in the conservative Christian community surrounding homosexuality and the stigma that is attached. If you have not seen this movie yet, do so as it is very well made and does give some insight into a cross section of individuals we rarely get a chance to learn about, those who are happily gay and also religiously observant.

I find it interesting, though, that the Bible only specifies male homosexuality as wrong, the addition of female homosexuality is added later on in further commentary. This only reflects a patriarchal society where men where valued higher that women and so the sin of a man being with another man seemed more important. I also think that this is at its base a kind of "yuck" factor, men seem to have this kind of aversion to men being with other men. I have been around plenty of men who say they have no problem with homosexuality, but do not want to see two men kiss. This is reflected in the prohibition against male homosexuality in both religious and secular society. But, of course, this same societal pressure is not applied to when two women kiss and in fact women kissing is encouraged. Hell go to a bar, party or other place where college kids or other young adults are socializing and I am willing to bet that you will see two women kissing, mostly because of the encouragement of young men. This sexual experimentation is expected and even desired for girls by men, but it is not socially acceptable for two men to kiss in public. I will point to this case of two football players from the University of Florida where after a big play, one of the players kissed the other on the cheek. There was a huge uproar about it in the national media and you couldn't watch a sports show that week without someone saying something about it. The reaction was not generally positive either, but I bet that if this had happened among women in say the women's World Cup soccer games this summer, there would have been little said about it or it would have been one of those, "heh heh heh see I told you all women were secretly lesbians" type of things that the media and the majority of men love to say.

Now I am not saying that I have any interest in kissing another man, but I also have no issues watching two men who care for each other to share a kiss whether it is on the cheek or on the lips. As for women who kiss, I guess since it was not that big of a deal and was pretty usual when I was in college only a few years ago, my attitude is more of that it is silly most of the time and that it is just another facet of this misogynistic society that we live in.

1 comment:

FranIAm said...

I am so glad that you saw this and it is interesting that you had seen it.

I agree with your thoughts completely.

A close friend of mine who is Modern Orthodox (and not gay) knows the director and one of the people featured. It breaks her heart to see people she loves in this pain.

I liked it because it does show that sometimes even when we can't be part of the mainstream, if we are spiritual it is not so easy to just walk away.

Your insights are always good to read. Thanks Boxer.