GAN (Ruthie Shatz, Adi Barash, 2003)

From Israel and Canada, Garden is a deeply affecting film because of the loving friendship of the two homeless boys, gay male prostitutes in Tel Aviv, that the film documents, the harshness of their circumstance and the courage with which they daily face this, and the extraordinary degree of trust that filmmakers Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash drew from them, as reflected in the boys’ openness to the camera. One cannot easily shake off this brilliant film.
     How did the boys come to where they are? “You’re free,” the voiceover of one explains; “No one asks you where you’re going, where you’re coming from, what you do or don’t do.” (All this turns out to be untrue.) The other’s voiceover: “I gotta pay rent.” (“I don’t get into those cars willingly. . . . I have to, to live.”) Dudu, 18, is an Arab Israeli; Nino, 17, a Palestinian, tries securing a permit that will allow him to stay in Israel—a complicated matter. Both come from abusive homes; once, Nino tried going home, but (wrongly) suspecting him of collaborating with Israelis, the Palestinian secret police interceded and shot him up, abundantly scarring him. “Your pocket is your only friend,” someone says; but Dudu and Nino share a heartrending friendship. (They are not lovers.) Dudu accompanies Nino by train to the reformatory (Nino has beaten up and robbed someone and tried selling drugs to an undercover cop); Nino encourages Dudu to stop using heroin.
     At one point, a social worker in an outreach van asks Nino if he has many dreams. Nino: “Not a lot, but a lot of running away from things.”
     And there are matters not specific to them with which the boys also must contend. “What happened?” Nino casually asks Dudu. “Another suicide bombing?”



11 thoughts on “GAN (Ruthie Shatz, Adi Barash, 2003)

  1. This movie is so heart breaking. I saw it by accident on HBO. I am now hunting for it on DVD to no avail. Netflix is retarded concerning niche movies.

    If you’ve got any leads, pleas email me at


  2. Does anyone know about the availability of a DVD of this film in any part of the world? Let me know and I will let Ilya know. Thanks. Dennis

  3. I saw this movie Yesterday i stayed up till 2am watching it in HBO man this movie is really sad and very emotional. It shows how important a peaceful family really is and how much these boys wanted one. With no doubt it is one the best documetaries I have ever seen.

  4. I also stayed up watching it and thought it was an excellent film (Sundance channel) but wondered, and still do, what happened to those boys……I wish there had been some follow-up after the filming was completed and before the release.

  5. hi all,
    this is the latest update:
    As it happen, we are going to film Dudu after 5 years. not so sure if we’ll make a follow up documentary. we will have to decide after we’ll meet next week.

    Since the film came out, Dudu and Nino had a fight and didn’t keep in touch. Nino left the Garden, fell in love with a Russian girl and moved to live with her, he started working in constructions and received a resident ship from the authorities.
    Dudu on the other hand was caught and went to prison he was there for almost three years (for varies crimes..) 6 month ago he was released, but two month later he was caught again while trying to sell weapon.

    Then he was sent to a prison located in the outskirts of Tel Aviv only to find out that his cell mate is Nino.

    it turned out that Nino was driving without a licence in a “friend’s” car this car turned out to be a stolen one… Nino is sentenced for a year in prison and Dudu a year and a half.
    I will see both of them next week.

  6. Having been both to Israel and Jordan, and being a gay man, I found this documentary tugged at my heart mercilessly. How are Nino and Dudu now? I know this odd, but I feel as if I made friends with them and lived through some of their trials. I know they were in jail together as I read here. Have they reconciled their friendship? My goodness, Ms Shatz has made such a compelling portrait that I have to work hard at releasing myself from under its power.

  7. After watching this wonderful documentary, I was also left with so many questions. I spent two hours searching the internet, trying to find out some follow-up info about Nino and Dudu. I am so happy I have found this, and am very very interested in learning about any future info you have to update us on the two boys, now turned men. Please keep me informed, as this story has touched me deeply…and I hope that Nino and Dudu realize that they did a great service by being so open with their lives in this documentary. Any updates on them will be greatly appreciated!

  8. I hope Ruthie Shatz still checks this website for comments regarding her documentary the Garden. I watched it over the weekend and have been haunted by images and questions regarding nino and dudu. I saw in an earliar post she was to meet with them. If possible, i hope she has the opportunity to update their situation or, if she has a website that she post information or takes questions regarding this film.

  9. I watched it last night and was also riddled with many questions. I scoured the internet too searching for any kind of update and was happy to find Ruthie’s post. I would love to see another documentary about them especially after her update! I live in Hollywood and there are so many crappy films made here it’s refreshing to finally see some good quality cinema!

    Ruthie and Adi I hope you both get a chance make another documentary about them! If you have any further updates on their situation please post or email.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s