68 minutes. Camera&Direction: Lior Shamriz
A tale of a man coming back to his troubled home-town becomes a meditation on the queer body and the geography of identity. By dislocating the narrative, this neo-noir film interrogates contemporary colonial relationships and troubles the filmmaker’s relationship to ‘the West’.
“I wasn’t a White European going to film in ‘exotic’ or ‘blank slate’ Asia. I was going as a Middle Eastern, exoticized daily myself (Iraqi/Iranian/Kurdish Jew born in Israel). I went east after going west for so long. The lands I went to ‘explore’ were South Korea and Taiwan – strong vibrant economies with rich cinematic histories. I went there to think about place and identity and make a nouveau-noir story dissecting myths of identity and the queer body.
‘The Cage’ takes place in fictional lands that are strongly inspired by Ashkelon, Israel (where I grew up) and Berlin, Germany (where I lived for a decade beginning my late twenties). I wanted to film it in east Asia as a way to resist both Israel and Germany’s processes of “art-washing” – the way these two governments legitimize themselves by enabling the production of critical films and political art in their territories. In particular, with Israel, I was cautious of the way the mere act of staging a fiction film in a place normalizes an oppressive regime and occupation.
These efforts of art-washing in Israel are often used to portray the Palestinians as ‘backward’ (homophobic for example) and to present the Israeli occupation as ‘forward’. I was familiar with it from the time I was touring with the last film I shot in Israel, in 2007. It was a queer film about a guy in Tel Aviv and it fit the image Israel was working hard to mold for itself. I was constantly receiving email invitations I politely ignored from Israeli consulates trying to ‘help me’ push my film’s distribution in the world because it helped them push the image of Israel they wanted to show the world.
But Europe has been ‘art-washing’ too in the last decades, covering up and subverting any potential criticism about its colonial, genocidal past and the lack of full reparations thereof.” (-Lior Shamriz)
Presskit and credit list here.
Produced by Spektakulativ Pictures, Liav Shamriz & Ruth Martin, Studio Nandashii, Heng-Chieh Lee, Bbooks Av
Produced with support from Geumcheon Seoul Art Space, Taipei Artist Village, iPix Taipei and crowdfunding: Itay Schiff, Ursula Hueffer, Guillaume Cailleau, Caitlin H Adams, Paul Outlaw, Amnon Friedman, Paula Eichhorn, Stephen J Andrews, Anett Vietzke, Maya Kenig, Nina Fig, Ruth Teresa Martin De La Calle And Liav Shamriz, Avi Evan, Ron Naiweld, Bc Jiny 22, Sylbee Kim, Sander Houtkruijer, Sammy Loren, Teodora Stepancic, Mark Rappaport, Martin Schneider, Brian Getnick, Elwira Hiera, Aline Bo, Cho Eun Chung, Rasi Levinas