Review: Borders הגדר ألسياج, VAULT Festival

Borders הגדר ألسياج

“Don’t worry, we won’t have sex right away”

When Boaz and George strike up a connection on Grindr as they’re only a handful of kilometres apart, it turns out that there’s considerably more than a digital divide between them. They’re on opposite sides of the Israeli-Lebanon border so while they engage in flirtatious banter and negotiate over horned up dick pics, strong political and cultural differences are just lying in wait to cause trouble.

Inspired by such an encounter in his own life, Nimrod Danishman’s deeply romantic Borders הגדר ألسياج explores whether love stories can thrive in such territory. Against the backdrop of entrenched Middle East conflict, can a real relationship flourish in the digital domain and more importantly, if there’s a hole in a fence, can these two hook up and really scratch that itch.

Neta Gracewell’s direction emphasises the division and disconnect between the pair, even as they’re coming together. Ethan Cheek’s set design features a mutable wall of building blocks that keeps them apart and Gracewell also has them never speaking face-to-face, a powerful evocation of the distance between them, both physical and meta-physical.

Danishman’s script does a fabulous job of demonstrating that if love can’t always necessarily conquer all, it can certainly give it a good try. There’s humour and eroticism in the good times and real pathos in the bad, as the spectres of such disparate cultural conditioning and military service loom large over their chats. What one man is willing to sacrifice and prioritise is rarely the same for the other.

As Boaz and George respectively, Yaniv Yafe and Tarik Badwan both give beautfully nuanced performances which effortlessly cover this spectrum. From horny banter to honest truths, from nationally-imposed borderlines to personally-set red lines, their’s is a poignantly realised connection that you can’t help but root for.

Running time: 60 minutes (without interval)
Borders הגדר ألسياج is booking at VAULT Festival until 12th February

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