“Alex & Ali” Wednesday October 15

The Islamic Revolution tears apart a US Peace Corps Volunteer and the Iranian Muslim man he loves. After 35 years, the men reunite. The reunion — and shocking aftermath — are documented in this remarkable true story.

In 1977, a young Peace Corps volunteer named Alex stared out the dusty back window of a silver BMW.  As the car pulled away, he watched his secret Iranian lover, Ali, stand in the middle of the street, waving goodbye.  The car picked up speed, turned a corner, and Ali disappeared from sight.  Alex turned around, blinked, and stared at his hands, which had just moments before embraced the love of his life as they said goodbye.  When would their hands touch again?  Would they ever?  Through tears, he stared out the window, watching the city of Tehran speed by.  The Iranian revolution was drawing near, and he had no choice but to leave.  To leave the only man who had ever truly loved him.  His heart was breaking.

After a period of absence, Ali and Alex started communicating again, and for 30 years they exchanged phone calls and letters, hoping to rescue some of the happiness they experienced while being together in Iran. The film documents their journey as they finally reunite, and the process they must go through should Ali decide he wants to leave Iran and finally live a life with Alex.

All in all, I applaud Malachi Leopold for taking on the challenging story that hit really close to home for the filmmaker. While we in the West continue to fight for the rights of all to be seen equally, to have the right to marry who they love, and to be who they are freely without prejudice, most people outside our world are still struggling to merely exist. – Jacqueline Valencia, in a review in Next Projection.

USA, 2014, 84m, documentary/drama/romance. Directed by Malachi Leopold.
Occasional Farsi with English subtitles.

Directed by Alex’s nephew, Malachi Leopold, who created the documentary as part of a process of building a relationship with his uncle. “[we were] not allowed to have much of a relationship with him because we grew up in an evangelical environment. He was my uncle but he was kind of the outcast of the family because he was gay.” After a break with his faith, over challenging intolerence, Malachi reached out to his uncle.

His story really blew me away….. I felt not only was it a beautiful love story but it was also a story that felt very timely and relevant to the issues people are grappling with today. That’s everything from marriage equality and immigration equality to how Islam is perceived by the West and what Americans’ relationship is like with Iran. – director Malachi Leopold.

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