Say Amen!

Helmer David Deri's personal coming-out story "Say Amen!" has been unsurprisingly held up by family members uncomfortable with the brazenly passive-aggressive way in which he films them. Results feel exploitative and monumentally disingenuous, considering he dedicates the pic to his folks. Gay fests have been nibbling.

Originally slated to air on Israel’s Channel 8 via Noga Communications, helmer David Deri’s personal coming-out story “Say Amen!” has been unsurprisingly held up by family members uncomfortable with the brazenly passive-aggressive way in which he films them. Over the course of five years, Deri appears to have had a vid camera permanently affixed to his arm whenever he saw his relatives, recording each conversation as everyone danced around the subject of his homosexuality. Results feel exploitative and monumentally disingenuous, considering he dedicates the pic to his folks. Gay fests have been nibbling, but broader play is nil.

Deri comes from a traditional Moroccan Jewish family which immigrated to Israel and raised 10 kids in an Orthodox environment. Inevitably the subject of a prospective wife comes up, which Deri sidesteps until finally, against the advice of siblings both supportive and antagonistic, he tells his elderly parents he’s gay. Their reaction is to be expected, with mom exhorting him to say “Amen” in the hopes that God will help her wayward baby. Well-crafted with decent tech credits, docu remains an immature act of provocation rather than a heartfelt plea for acceptance.

Say Amen!

Israel

Production: A Deri Prods. production. (International sales: Ruth Diskin Films, Jerusalem). Produced by Ruth Lev Ari, David Deri. Directed by David Deri. Screenplay by Deri, Ruth Lev Ari, Eyal Tsarfati;

Crew: camera (color, Beta), Deri, Yari Ackerman; editor, Tsarfati; music, Jonathan Bar-Giora, Yehuda Poliker. Reviewed at Turin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (competing), April 21, 2006. Running time: 66 MIN.

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