Before smartphones became the standard medium for capturing private moving images, people shot with video cameras and MiniDV cassettes. Starting from the age of 12, Israeli director and, here, protagonist Shauly Melamed shot no end of home videos; generally featuring himself and his friends as the heroes. Now openly gay, Shauly discovers, through dialogue with fellow queer adults, that they have been through similar experiences of concealment, shame and desire. All protagonists captured their childhoods on film and are now confronted with their former selves. Views of the past change, memories are reassessed, ideas once repressed are brought into the open. Tom, a transgender man from an orthodox household sees a bold young woman ill at ease with herself. Betty, the daughter of Iranian immigrants, kissed her friends effusively in front of the camera. Rumia, the daughter of a single mother, recreated horror films with a queer twist before they both came out as lesbians. The path to self-acceptance was, at times, far from easy for the four protagonists; the personal, social and political pressure was immense. And yet their search for their ‘true selves’ is already more than evident in the video recordings: it reveals itself through the playful transgression of social norms by the then rather uninhibited children and teenagers. To be so uninhibitedly true to themselves in reality as they were in front of the camera was something the protagonists first had to learn however.
Text: Kira Tazman
English: Peter Rickerby