Cosmopolitan, a gay club that everyone wants to be at and is allowed into, until Jacob is turned away.
In just under 8 minutes, we get more emotion than a lot of films over 2 hours in length give to us. Without explosions and other storylines, Cosmopolitan keeps the short film simple, focusing on what matters. Texting with someone on a dating app, Jacob wants to meet them at a bar, but when security keep turning him away, we realise that it’s nothing to do with his sexuality.
The film makes me think of the good Samaritan story in the bible, where a man on the side of the road is turned away by two people who we think will help him, but then aided by someone unexpected. I think Jacob tries around 3 times to join the queue to get into the club. The first time, he is denied. The second time, he is denied. But then for the third time, he announces, even screams out that he is gay to try and gain respect and entry, but after being grabbed and thrown away, he knows they don’t accept him for another reason. People are both non-white and not straight, which does make life difficult for them if they’re surrounded by people who don’t accept it. It’s so upsetting to see Jacob want to be accepted by the community but turned away so dramatically. But then even in everyday life, people without realising talk badly about others. Racists and homophobes fit into everyday life with no consequences, just as the short displays.
The script doesn’t have much dialogue, relying on the body language to put across the feelings of the characters. Adam Kende who plays Jacob is brilliant. He is like a rabbit in the headlights, someone just needing a hug and some understanding. He is being beaten down for things he cannot change, letting him think that he will not be accepted by either community. When the credits start, we’re told that the film is based on real life events of Koby K. Tarakai, an Ethiopian LGBT activist. We think that people aren’t welcomed because of their skin colour or their sexuality, but when it’s both, it really cuts deep for the person caught up in it. We can’t pretend anymore, we can’t hide, it’s exhausting continually fighting it, but if we stop, it’ll be like the oppressor has won.
This film pulled at my heartstrings, filling me with sadness but also a determination to change the way people are treated. It’s not fair to be cruel to someone based on their skin colour or sexuality. Written and directed by Moran Nakar, this really is an important film to see.