Neve Sha’anan, Tel Aviv: Ben and Raz are a young, attractive, financially secure gay couple, ready to take the next step in their relationship in the form of having a baby through surrogacy. They fit uneasily into the Eritrean refugee neighborhood they live in—but which we hear is rapidly developing with property that will be a guaranteed “solid investment” within the next few years. On his work computer, Ben designs the housing and social architecture of the future, and outside his apartment, Ben plants a new sapling. But this act of ever-so-subtle gentrification to the street outside his apartment soon leads to a tragic series of events for the refugees living in the building. Concerned Citizen is a thorny and challenging parable for our times, with themes as relevant to contemporary Tel Aviv as it is to the Bay Area—and to any underserved communities ogled by privileged developers as “investments.” Director Idan Haguel’s film is a morally complex, refreshingly smart dark comedy about personal responsibility, liberal complicity in state violence, and the uneasy balance between assuming the identity of a “concerned” citizenry and the adoption of a victim complex.
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