Concerned Citizen (Ezrah Mudag) is an intense, award-winning, Israeli drama. Ben (Shlomi Betonov) and his partner Raz (Ariel Wolf) move into a beautiful light-filled apartment in an up-and-coming area in South Tel Aviv. The area is vibrant and multicultural but has its fair share of social issues. Ben and Raz are optimistic about their future and are busy working and planning to have a child via a surrogate mother. Their apartment is full of the generic trappings of middle-class urban couples around the world – mid-century inspired furniture, beautiful ceramics and interesting house plants.
To help improve the streetscape, Ben plants a young sapling tree in front of their apartment. One night he sees a couple of Eritrean immigrants chatting by the tree with one of them casually pulling the tree back and forth as he speaks. He asks them to stop touching the tree, and then later calls the police when one of them continues to move the tree. To his horror, the police arrive and unnecessarily beat the young man to within an inch of his life. This sets off a wave of guilty emotions in Ben that change his life.
Written and directed by Idan Haguel, Concerned Citizen is an interesting commentary on urban middle-class values today. Ben wants his child to grow up in a multicultural, pluralistic and diverse neighborhood, but how relaxed and open-minded is he really? People living in similar urban neighborhoods around the world will be able to relate to his reactions and thought processes. Ben’s guilt and subsequent turmoil trigger many emotions including denial, anger and frustration. This is a strong and thought-provoking film. Ben and Raz are beautifully portrayed by real-life couple Betanov and Wolf, whose long-term relationship chemistry complements the film as Ben seeks atonement. Ben’s unspoken angst is particularly well-acted. The film is well-paced and has a beautiful score by Zoe Polanski. Recommended.
Streaming On Demand only. Available on Peccadillo POD, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Curzon Home Cinema, BFI Player
Queerguru’s Contributing Editor Ris Fatah is a successful fashion/luxury business consultant (when he can be bothered) who divides and wastes his time between London and Ibiza. He is a lover of all things queer, feminist, and human rights in general. @ris.fatah
Labels: 2023, Ariel Wolf, Concerned Citizen, Idan Haguel, Israeli, review, Ris Fatah, Shlomi Betonov