The Garden is a desolate section of Tel Aviv where young gay prostitutes and drug addicts gather. It’s a territory for the dispossessed (the irony of its name not lost on anyone who enters or escapes) and for pickups, drug deals, and clashes with the law. Over the course of one year, filmmakers Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash follow two young men who have made the Garden their home: Nino, a 17-year-old Palestinian living illegally in Israel, in and out of jail and reformatories; and Dudu, an Arab-Israeli self- destructing under the debilitation of drug addiction. The young men give Shatz and Barash tremendous access into the most intimate aspects of their lives. The filmmakers, ever mindful of the trust they have earned, create a powerfully honest film, affording Nino and Dudu respect and dignity all too often denied them in their daily lives.
Against the backdrop of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the unease and ridicule still directed toward homosexuals, the two friends depend on each other for support and a sense of security and love. A poignant film that offers no sedatives to numb the pain or reduce the loneliness, Garden is ultimately about longing and belonging, and the elusive meaning of home. –Sundance Film Festival