Dark comedy-drama “Concerned Citizen,” which has its world premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlinale, has debuted its trailer. Berlin-based sales outfit M-Appeal will be selling the film during the European Film Market.
The film, a satirical parable on the insidious ways in which privilege can unleash the prejudice within, centers on Ben, who thinks of himself as a liberal and enlightened gay man, living in the perfect apartment with his boyfriend Raz. All that’s missing to complete the picture is a baby, which the couple are trying to make a reality.
Meanwhile, Ben decides to improve his up-and-coming neighborhood in gritty south Tel-Aviv by planting a new tree on his street. But his good deed soon triggers a sequence of events that leads to the brutal police arrest of an Eritrean immigrant. The guilt trip that ensues will fundamentally challenge Ben’s vision of himself and his society, in the process threatening to destroy his relationship and aspirations of fatherhood.
The film stars Shlomi Bertonov and Ariel Wolf, and is written and directed by Idan Haguel. It is produced by Haguel alongside Gil Sima, Binyamin Gurevitch and Itay Akirav. The film is supported by the Rabinovitch Film Fund.
Haguel says the film “could be described as a white guilt trip dark comedy of a ‘gentrificator’.” He adds: “The environment forces him to discover
(shall we say) unpleasant aspects of his character that he didn’t know existed.”
Haguel continues: “The film is told from the protagonist’s white and privileged point of view. The satire also comes from that same point of view. It was important for me not to pretend and take righteous ownership of the refugees’ perspective – who are outside the inner world of the protagonist.
“Although the film focuses on gay characters, it does so to reflect the bourgeoisie elements of the community in Tel-Aviv, to tell a story about LGBTQ characters from a different angle. It is not necessarily about love or coming out, but about a world where gay characters, who are normally the depicted as ‘victims’ – become the victimizers.”
Haguel’s debut feature film “Inertia” premiered internationally in the Berlinale Forum section in 2016. In 2017, he was invited back to the Berlinale after being selected to participate in talent development program Berlinale Talents. He has also worked as a journalist and scriptwriter for Israeli television. “Concerned Citizen” is his second feature.