In Bed Image

In Bed

By Bradley Gibson | April 11, 2024

Director-writer Nitzan Gilady delivers a sensory gut punch in his Israeli thriller, In Bed. Guy (Israel Ogalbo) and his bestie Joy (Moran Rosenblatt) are already taking ecstasy from their water bottle when they head into the street in full rave regalia for a gay pride parade. They soon join a brightly chromatic river of partying people immersed in the dance-electronic soundtrack of DJ Offer Nissim, who also served as cinematographer for the film.

It is a sunny, perfect day, full of beautiful young people and music when the first shots ring out from a masked gunman in the crowd. As people fall bleeding, the now screaming crowd disperses. Guy and Joy make it back to his place, where they find another apparently stunned pride celebrant named Dan (Dean Miroshnikov) sitting in their stairwell. They bring him in to look after him. The news reports on TV state that the shooter is still at large and later says there is reason to believe he may be a member of the LGBTQ community himself. As the three try to shake off the trauma of the parade, they turn to more drugs. The night wears on in a frenzy of sex, drugs, and increasing uncertainty about who Dan might be.

The film is jarring early on, as what looks like a lighthearted moment at a pride celebration turns into a nightmare of gunshots and bloodshed. Later, as Guy and Dan get together, there’s a lot of sex. It’s graphic but not to the point of being pornography. Given that this reviewer is a straight cis-het male, of course, it’s tempting to comment that what is meant to be an erotic thriller, well, wasn’t especially erotic. That would be ironic, of course, since gay people largely have to endure the same effect from any film labeled “erotic” that only depicts heterosexual sex. So, I say this to check myself and share that awareness with the reader.

“The night wears on in a frenzy of sex, drugs and increasing uncertainty…”

Gilady based this story on a real hate crime that took place in 2009 when an armed man entered an LGBT center in Tel Aviv and opened fire. He says of the drug-fueled sex in the film: “I wanted to explore a topic that is rarely openly spoken about in the gay community, or shown at all in film: chem sex. The ecstatic highs and intensely deep lows of drugs in gay party culture. I have seen this around me; I have seen it influence people I love, and it has affected me…I wanted to show this side of our culture in a truthful way. Not in the sense of being realistic or documentary-like, but portraying, in an honest and visceral way, the feeling of being high, reaching for fantasy, the distortion of reality, and loss of control.”

The National Institutes for Health defines “chemsex” thusly: “The term ‘chemsex’ was coined to indicate the voluntary intake of psychoactive and non-psychoactive drugs in the context of recreational settings to facilitate and/or to enhance sexual intercourses mostly among men who have sex with other men.” I, for one, did not know this term. We get smarter every day, or at least more educated.

The three main actors bring this narrative to life with power and authenticity. With dialogue in Hebrew, Russian, and English and featuring Hebrew subtitles, In Bed presents a truly cosmopolitan look at the types of hate crimes that happen around the world. We also get a glimpse at the response to the feeling of powerlessness of the people they happen to, particularly young people. This is especially impactful in the aftermath of the Oct 7, 2023, Hamas attack at the kibbutz Re’im music festival in Southern Israel. The film touches on a number of disturbing ideas and reveals aspects of the world you may not have been aware of.

In Bed (2024)

Directed and Written: Nitzan Gilady

Starring: Israel Ogalbo, Moran Rosenblatt, Dean Miroshnikov, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

In Bed Image

"…when the first shots ring out from a masked gunman in the crowd"

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