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You can't accuse filmmaker Tomer Heymann of tackling a mundane subject in this documentary, a multiple award winner at various festivals.
Dealing with a group of immigrant transvestite and transsexual Filipinos who care for elderly Orthodox Jews in Tel Aviv, Paper Dolls manages to wrest surprising amounts of emotion and humor from its exotic characters and situations.
The Strand Releasing film received its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York's Film Forum. It opens Friday in San Francisco and October 6 in Los Angeles.
The title refers to the drag queens who perform at Tel Aviv nightclubs at night while attending to their charges during the day. Interweaving snippets from the performers' act with scenes from their day-to-day duties and extensive interviews, the film chronicles the strong emotional bonds between the live-in aides and their elderly patients despite the latter's occasional befuddlement as to the nature of their caregivers' lifestyles.
Director Heymann adeptly explores the various aspects of the situation, including the abuse the Filipinos suffered in their native homeland, the more enlightened but still occasionally hostile reception they receive in their new home, and the alternately exploitative and rewarding aspects of their duties.
Although the film occasionally become repetitive, one can't help but be moved by the way in which these two groups of people--who couldn't be more different in terms of background and orientation--have found a common emotional ground. (Reuters/Hollywood Reporter)