Zero Degrees of Separation
Zero Degrees of Separation looks at the Middle East conflict and the Palestinian Occupation, through the eyes of mixed Palestinian and Israeli gay and lesbian couples. Ezra is against the Occupation, yet he’s an Israeli. His partner, Selim, is a Palestinian whose protests against the Occupation landed him in jail at age 15. Ezra is a simple plumber whose courage and cheek take on prophet–like proportions as he travels across the country risking his life to protest the walls, fences and military checkpoints that divide them. Interwoven with their stories is footage of Elle Flanders’ grandparents, who were intimately involved in the founding of the state of Israel. Through these home movies, Flanders artfully retraces her grandparents’ travels as they tour a fledgling nation brimming with pioneering joyous youth, immigrants, refugees and endless open vistas of the Holy Land, contrasting the ideals at the birth of the “holy land” with the reality of today’s Israel, a country mired in the rubble of Occupation.
List of Festivals and Awards
November 2006: Award Winner USA Columbus International Film and Video Festival
March 2006: Award Winner France 28th International Women’s Film Festival
February 2006: Award Winner India Mumbai International Film Festival
October 2005: Award Winner Italy Torino Women Film Festival “La Mo-Viola”
June 2005: Award Winner USA San Francisco International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival – Frameline
June 2005: Award Winner Spain Barcelona Mostra Internacional de Films de Donnes
May 2005: Award Winner Canada Toronto Inside Out Toronto Lesbian and Gay Film and Video Festival
Sharply Assembled…Strong meat that warrants attention.
3 out of 4 stars! “…Elle Flanders frames their struggles with a mournful eloquence […] to strong effect. There is a political bias here — and it’s not pro-Israel — but it’s a basic humanism that resonates the strongest.”
— Eye Magazine
“intricate, compelling and very personal” … “Zero Degrees is not a historical document, rather, it is a very personal consideration that uses the current situation in Israel-Palestine to ask difficult and important political questions.”
“Flanders’ film is bursting with concern about identities – sexual, national, political, generational, cultural, class, ethnic and more.”
“Flanders sensitively balances the personal and the political in an insightful documentary.”
— Toronto Star
Zero Degrees is hypnotic, elegaic, political, and incisive. Yet the film isn’t merely poetic —- it illuminates the filmmaker’s (and by extension, the viewer’s) complicity in war and intolerance.
— Jennie Livingston, Director, Paris is Burning
Flanders has found a way to surround a verite slice of life with the most deeply personal and lyrical frame, complicating our notions of Israeli/Palestinian “relations” in a wonderfully unexpected fashion. Her documentary speaks to anyone who cares about the future of partnerships, filmmaking, or social justice.
— B. Ruby Rich