Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is a poignant film about an estranged family trying to reconcile their relationships, amidst religious and cultural concerns, engaging with each other across continents. It is also a film about how music can bring hope in times of personal crisis, stemming from the protagonist’s need to be a part of a community. This is a truly remarkable film that addresses perspectives from all sides in a way that ensures you engage emotionally at every level. Filmed by writer/producer/directors the Heymann Brothers, we are shown – in unflinching honesty – the life of Saar Maoz and his family. The characters are playing themselves, their emotions and recollections clear in the instigation of a unique opportunity to view their emotional bravura.
Saar Maoz has been living in London for several years. He is part of the Jewish community and also part of London’s gay community, coming to terms with rejection by his relations. At the age of 21 Saar was thrown out of his Kibbutz for lacking in religious ideology and since fleeing to London has not had much contact with his family, aside from rare letters and the mementos of his homeland that he keeps in his loft. He had a number of relationships: “In 2000 I met Allen. I felt like I had won the lottery; he was beautiful, talented and we had crazy sex.” But their love, as profound as it was, lasted for three years until they split and Saar turned to a wider life of hedonism and excess, of wild parties, sex and drugs. He knew “we were bound to have bad karma” and eventually received notification from a partner who declared that he has been diagnosed as HIV positive. Saar underwent tests and discovered that he too had contracted the virus, requiring constant medication to try to maintain his health for the years to come. He finds incredible solace through his involvement with London Gay Men’s Chorus. And maybe there is also hope for another kind of consolation in reacquainting with his family after so many years. His mother visits him in London, cooking home food and bringing hope for reconciliation. Building bridges with his father may take a little longer; Saar recalls a letter that his father wrote to him when he first moved to London and the pain of being rejected still haunts him after almost two decades. So it is essential that when he returns home for a visit he should see all his family, including his ageing and beloved grandfather Elimelekh, to see if there is a chance of acceptance.
In an early scene in Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? we see Saar rehearsing the song “Go West” with The London Gay Men’s Chorus, a song that directly reflects his actions after being expelled from the Kibbutz to discover a very different – and liberating – life abroad. When he decides to re-visit his homeland, he is concerned about how his family will react to his lifestyle and his condition: “How do I tell mum and dad? I don’t worry about living or dying.” His younger brother seems particularly ill-informed and harsh, stating with complete candour, “I have an older brother who can’t take control of his own life” and openly admits that he fears for his children in the presence of an uncle who is HIV positive. Some of Saar’s siblings resent his lifestyle and his lack of responsibility, while others are more sympathetic. Who’s Gonna Love Me Now? is insular, raw and deeply personal as well as uplifting and full of hope, reflected in the sheer honesty of all involved. And as for the possibility of a permanent move back home, there may be employment prospects and a chance at reconciliation.
Covering issues and situations in a unique format this is essential viewing for anyone who wants to see an open and compelling biography which takes in issues of drama, religion, prejudice and hope across nations, together with reintegration within a family circle.
A multitude of extras are provided with the DVD release, including a plethora of reviews and a wonderfully heartening and amusing introduction by Julian Clary that expands on the whole film.