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The Independent Critic

Yoav Arad, Hader Rayan Abu-Seif, Yossi Berg
Michael Lucas, Yariv Mozer
46 Mins.
QC Cinema

 "Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land" Gets Director's Cut 
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It is true.

When most people think of Israel, they think in terms like military conflict or ancient religion. There is, however, much more to the Jewish state than simply missiles and prayers. With his debut documentary, adult-film entrepreneur and political columnist Michael Lucas joins Tel Aviv filmmaker Yariv Mozer in examining a side of Israel that is too often overlooked - its thriving and very legal gay community.

That's right. While being gay is punishable by death in some African and Mideast nations, it has been legal since 1988 in Israel, a fact that may conflict with many who envision the Jewish state as a hotbed of conservatism and orthodoxy.

Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land features interviews with an incredibly diverse group of local men including a gay member of Israel's parliament, a trainer who served openly in the army, a young Arab-Israel journalist, and a pair of dads raising their children. Lucas visits Tel Aviv's vibrant nightlife scene and even attends a same-sex wedding.

Indeed, Lucas undresses Israel.

The film has been picked up by QC Cinema, the LGBT distribution arm of Breaking Glass Pictures, a growing indie distributor and one of the leading distributors for quality LGBT cinema. Breaking Glass Pictures has signed a deal with Lucas Documentaries to release an extended director's cut DVD of Undressing Israel, a compelling and thoughtful film that has proven to be quite popular on the film fest circuit since its debut at the 2013 Atlanta Jewish Film Festival.

The DVD release will include a feature-length video commentary with Lucas along with Q&S footage from various film festivals. These extras add up to quite the bonus for an otherwise modestly timed 46-minute documentary. It says quite a bit about the quality of the film that the major complaint about the film is, in fact, that it could have easily run for another half hour or so without ever wearing out its welcome.

Lucas, who is already working to raise funds for his next film centered around Russia's campaign of evil and their gay community, wisely avoids adding unnecessary artistic distractions in favor of allowing Undressing Israel to focus on the vibrancy of Israel and the involving stories of those who are featured in the film.

Undressing Israel: Gay Men in the Promised Land arrives on home video on November 26th and should be considered an absolute "must" for anyone seriously involved in LGBT issues or who simply wants to enjoy a well made film about an aspect of Israeli life that is very seldom revealed.

Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic