Army of Lovers in the Holy Land, is Asaf Galay’s new award-winning documentary about the Jewish roots of the Swedish queer disco-pop band Army of Lovers and its charismatic singer Jean-Pierre Barda’s extraordinary journey to make aliyah – examining the notions of home, identity and family along the way.
The film, which won the Haifa International Film Festival, Best Documentary Film Award, will have its NYC premiere in Virtual Cinema hosted by Scandinavia House from Friday, September 11. Director Asaf Galay and subject Jean-Pierre Barda will participate in a virtual Q&A on Sunday, September 20 at 3pm EST.
Thirty years after the hit Swedish queer disco-pop band Army of Lovers launched into international stardom, its frontman, Jean-Pierre Barda, embarks on a new chapter when he uproots his existence to move from Sweden to Israel. In this new documentary, director Asaf Galay joins Barda alongside his journey at the age of 50, while Army of Lovers (a blend of ABBA, the B-52s and performance art) continues to rock pride celebrations and underground club parties with its mix of high camp, daring music videos and a motto of “More is more, less is a bore.”
Exploring why Barda’s Jewish identity has pulled him towards a change – even while co-members Alexander Bard and Dominika Peczynski remain his true family, after a lifetime spent in Sweden – the documentary follows the salt-and-pepper-haired charmer as he gives up his luxurious apartment and fashionable clothes to settle into rollerblading through the streets of Tel Aviv, meeting passionate Israeli men, and enjoying hummus in the backyard. But is that enough for a former pop star?
In looking at the seeming paradox of Barda’s identity – flamboyant, philosophical and religious all at once – the film explores what it means to never doubt oneself.
Director Asaf Galay is an acclaimed international film director, with a passion for stories on Jewish subjects that illuminate the human condition. His most recent documentaries include Army of Lovers in the Holy Land (2018) and The Adventures of Saul Bellow (for 2020 broadcast on American Masters). His film The Hebrew Superhero (2015) was described by Tablet magazine as “supremely entertaining,” on the subject of comics in Israel. The Muses of Bashevis Singer (2014) opened the New York Jewish Film Festival, and his feature film on the Israeli poet Nathan Alterman (Sentimentality Allowed, 2012), is used in schools throughout Israel. In addition to his acclaimed film and television career, Galay is a museum curator at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum for the Jewish People located in Tel Aviv. He is head curator of exhibits on Bob Dylan (“Forever Young”), Jewish humor (“Laughing at History”), Jewish fashion designers (“Dream Weavers”), and Amy Winehouse (“Amy Winehouse – A Family Portrait”).