“Lost in the White City”
A Love Triangle in Tel Aviv
“Lost In The White City” is the story of a love triangle set in the hot political climate of modern Tel Aviv. A young straight couple goes on a winter vacation to Tel Aviv in the hopes that it will be a change to use their creativity. Eva (Haley Bennett) writes poetry and goes to parties with friends while Kyle (Thomas Dekker) works on a film about his confused sexuality with a young Israeli ex-soldier, Avi (Bob Morley) who draws him deeper into the couple’s complex relationship.
As I watched the beginning of the film I had the feeling that I had seen all of this before but as the film moved forward, I realized that this was something brand new. I also realized that there is something very special about this film and I was soon totally wrapped up in it.
Eva and Kyle understood that their relationship was in trouble and that perhaps this visit to Tel Aviv might just change things as well as make them more creative in what they do. They soon become caught up in the nightlife as Kyle realizes that there are great opportunities to make a film in Tel Aviv. Each works on his artistic projects and we seldom see then together except when they are in the apartment. At a party they meet Avi who has recently finished his stint in the Israel Defense Forces and is trying his luck as an actor.
There seems to be a sense of attraction between Eva and Avi but nothing really comes out of that at first. However, Kyle is soon infatuated with Avi who is a bit mysterious. He makes Avi the focus of his next film. Avi does not realize that Kyle is sexually attracted to him and so he continues working with him on the film.
We do not know if Avi feels the same about Kyle and the viewer is left to decide that for him/herself. However as Eva and Avi become involve, there are problems when Kyle catches them together. Kyle forgives them and Avi agrees to go to Berlin with them in order to finish the film. We see them together with a couple of other friends and all seem to be enjoying themselves. We also realize that something has happened when we see an abandoned backpack.
If I had seen something about this film on the TLA website, I would never have known about it and that is too bad. It is a reflection of the youth of today and where they are in terms of culture and society. We also see something about the Middle East from a different perspective and minus the Israel/Palestine conflict. However, above all, what we really see is young people doing and loving what they want. The acting is excellent all around.
As Kyle, Dekker’s portrayal of the crass and impulsive American is one of the highlights of the film. There is a fourth star here— the city of Tel Aviv and its nightlife and having lived there I can tell you that it is accurately portrayed. We see Tel Aviv as a city like others and here we do not see the war zone that we so often seen in the media.
As the film opens, we see that there is trouble in Kyle and Eva’s relationship. Soon they are swept into a precarious and intriguing Israeli environment where menace, seduction and danger meet a sultry awareness of each other’s more preferred sexual choices. There is a wonderful scene where Avi leads Kyle to a bombed out nightclub on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and Kyle shoots Avi naked in a semi-erotic pose for his avant-garde film. Here we immediately sense the sexual tension between Kyle and Avi and it is otherwise often masked by aggression and heavy drinking, as the two men hit the Tel Aviv nightclub scene.
Meanwhle, Eva, while browsing through a suburban bookshop, meets Israeli-American writer Liam, (Nony Geffen), who is the complete antithesis of the reckless and noncaring Kyle. Liam introduces Eva to a more sophisticated world of the intelligensia, book launches and parties on yachts. The filmmakers cleverly link Kyle and Eva’s journeys of self-discovery and their crumbling relationship to Tel Aviv’s disturbing sense of danger becauase of omnipresent potential for violence and suicide bombings.
Israeli cinematographer Shahar Reznik gives us Tel Aviv in a sumptuous glare of sunlight, contrasting with the night sequences which are filled with glamour, drugs and decadence. Viewers get the sense of the city being constantly under threat while its citizens dance the night away in hedonism.
Beautifully filmed and definitely aimed at a more open-minded audience, the film explores the dangers of summer romances, sexuality and unrequited dreams.
The film is co-directed by Tanner King Barklow and Gil Kofman and it is a fascinating film about a straight couple’s relationship which disintegrates during a Mediterranean summer in Tel Aviv.
“Lost in the White City” will be exclusively available to stream on FlixFling — https://www.flixfling.com/