I Shot My Love (2010, Israel)

As a member of the Jewish Film Festival, organized by the Jewish Community Center, Sonoma County, I preview movies to help decide which ones to play at the Festival. I watched the following movie as part of this volunteer effort.

I Shot My Love” follows the dual love story of a man towards his partner and his mother. The documentary follows how Tomer met and fell in love with Wieland, a German dancer, how their quick love affair turned into a full relationship when Wieland moved to Israel too. It also shows how Tomer’s mother reacted to him being a German how she felt that 4 out of his 5 sons decided to leave Israel where she brought them up.

It’s obvious that Tomer, the director, writer and cameraman of the movie, is in love with Wieland as most of the shots of him are at least warm if not sensual. It is also evident that he loves his mother very much, although his camerawork seems less enthusiastic then. The angles he shot her from are not always the most flattering and the same applies to the editing. But this just shows the natural differences between what romantic and filial love.

The movie as a whole was sweet and often touching. But I believe the intention was to convey a more universal, depersonalized message, in which it failed; as it ended up being not much more then a well edited home-movie with some social reflections. The whole movie has a black frame around it as if we’d see an archive footage or through the lens of a single old film frame. I was simply annoyed by this technique as I wanted to see more. Brecht’s influence on Wieland–who recites his poetry several times–and on Tomer–who muses about his own use of the camera as a separator between himself and his subjects–is showing. I think the filmamker intended the movie to follow the footsteps of Brecht, but for that he was too much involved in the process.

Description at the filmmaker’s website:

Seventy years after his grandfather escapes from Nazi Germany to Palestine, Israeli documentary director Tomer Heymann returns to the country of his ancestors to present his film “Paper Dolls” at the Berlin International Film Festival, and there meets a man who will change his life.

This 48-hour love affair, originating in Berghain Panorama Bar, develops into a significant relationship between Tomer and Andreas Merk, a German dancer. When Andreas decides to move to Tel-Aviv, he not only has to cope with a new partner, but to manage the complex realities of life in Israel and his personal connection to it as a German citizen.

Tomer’s mother, descendent of German immigrants was born and lived all her life in a small Israeli village, where she raised five sons. One by one, she watches her children leave the country she and her family helped to build, and now cannot help but try to influence the life of Tomer, the one son who remains.

I SHOT MY LOVE tells a personal but universal love story and follows the triangular relationship between Tomer, his German boyfriend, and his intensely Israeli mother.


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