Garden receives a favorable writeup under the Movies section of's Periscope column. "Nobody wants to help them, everybody wants to use them... It is indescribable how bad life is for these people." Indescribable, perhaps, but the documentary does a convincing job of portraying the netherworld these youngsters inhabit." Read the full story.

Garden mentioned on's Periscope column

Directors Shatz and Barash paint a strong, dispassionate and candid portrait of boys who have run away from home, The film succeeds in drawing you into this dark world and successfully transcends a simple study of the friendship between two boys to explore far bigger themes of Arab culture, homosexuality, the impact of the political situation on all levels of society, illegals, resident status and the omnipresence of God.

"Garden" is one of a small stream of films coming out of Israel that tells stories beyond the confines of the conflict and the struggle for territory. In the end, you feel the pain of teenagers coming to grips with their own sexuality who have to risk their lives having sex with unknown men on a daily basis, just to survive.


“Garden” is a documentary about a topic you don’t hear mentioned every day: male teenage prostitutes in Tel Aviv (which has a section called the Garden where prostitutes seem to congregate). And lest you think that sounds like a glamourous, easy life, understand that the two teens who are the focus of this film, Nino and Dudu, suffer beatings at the hands of police and secret service men, battle drug problems, are escaping horrid family lives, and don’t know where their next meal will come from because they are homeless. Giving hand jobs to old men in cars for fifty shekels isn’t just something American teens do. Read more


"A poignant verite life-slice"

"Well-made docu provides nonexploitative insight"



The Advocate

"Creates the opportunity for both sympathy and outrage; it links the violence of occupation to the vulnerability of adolescent sexuality; it presents the scarified skin of victimised Arab male bodies as an inscription of both Arab and Israeli brutality; it reveals the suffering caused by homophobia while also evoking the homoerotic pathos of the pierced and penetrated boyish icon; it makes for an occasion of physical intimacy between two young men, while also pointing up the limits of comradeship under duress"

Senses of Cinema

RUTHIE SHATZ and ADI BARASH, young fimmakers from Israel, are the co-winners of the 2002 Grant for their project “Garden”. The jury underlined the importance of revealing a reality denied by Israeli society, the respect and humanity demonstrated in the treatment, the relationship of confidence which the filmmakers have built with the characters and the subtlety of the cinematographic approach.

Fondation AlterCine

"Heartbreaking, passionate and articulate."

"Their vivid personalities and troubled friendship tells a larger-than-life story, presented with compassion and urgency."

The Independent Weekly

"Nino and Dudu, teenage Arabs who hustle for a living in the Tel Aviv pick-up district of the title, make the hard times of Midnight Cowboy look like a game show. The product of abusive or disintegrated families and a brutally divided society, the two have been on the street since childhood, dodging pedophiles, gangsters, and both the Palestinian Secret Police and the Israeli Secret Service. They survive on drugs, brute cunning, prostitution, and their own seemingly unbreakable, often contentious, and remarkably noble love."

The Providence Phoenix

"One of this year's highlights is the documentary "Garden," by Ruthie Shatz and Adi Barash. The two filmmakers spent close to a year in Tel Aviv's skid row, called the Garden, where the junkies and hustlers convene. Set against the backdrop of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the film focuses on the friendship between a teenage Palestinian and an Israeli-Arab drug addict. The political conflict recedes as a bigger question emerges: These two social outlaws have transcended their region's strife. Who will follow? The thought isn't as naive as it sounds."

The Boston Globe

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