This extremely intimate and sensitive portrayal, and winner of the Best Israeli Documentary award at the Docaviv Film Festival, drew me in completely, as it observes a father’s transition from male to female. Over a two-year period, a devoted Israeli family of six – Amit, the dad; Galit, his wife; and their four children who are about 7 to 18 – deals with Amit’s highly emotional and often stressful evolution. Using a cinéma vérité approach, the film offers an up-close and very personal examination of a family with a parent who’s always desired to make a radical change.
As we watch, we can’t help but become involved as Amit first shares his intentions with Galit, and then with various acquaintances, including his religiously observant business partner. As Amit embarks on the extensive process, beginning with alternate clothing choices and use of hormones, he experiences a rollercoaster of emotions, despite his attempts at positivity.
Social ostracism is an undercurrent, as occasionally Amit, and even the children, are met with homophobic-like reactions from members of their conservative northern Israeli community, compounding the worry and tension that mark their otherwise middle-class, pleasant lives. Even friends and extended family vary in their reactions.
Anxiety and stress clearly take their toll and threaten the family’s stability. We see the effects of the transition on their children, and long-term ramifications that profoundly affect the dynamics of this loving family with whom we share a most personal journey.
Judy Bozarth is a writer and copy editor who’s been on AJFF’s Film Evaluation Committee and its copy editor for 11 years.