As one of the performers explains, they are Paper Dolls because they are like cardboard cutouts instead of real dolls; in some sense, "Paper Dolls" seems something of a cutout, too, perhaps because in covering so many of the Dolls one never sees clearly into their various inner lives. One sees them behaving with others, one hears them talking about themselves, but that is all relatively superficial; although only a few such scenes convey deeper personal elements, there are genuine moments of emotion, to be sure, and they are quite effective in producing that level of human resonance. Directed and written by Tomer Heymann. Produced by Claudia Levin, Stanley Buchthal and Tomer Heymann. Documentary. A Strand release. English-, Hebrew- and Tagalog-language; subtitled. Not rated. Running time: 80 min
After Israel closed the border to Palestinian workers, the country began enticing workers from other countries; certain of those who came, not always legally, were Filipino health-care workers, and certain these were transvestites who found jobs tending to elderly Jewish people. Finding these transvestite workers of interest, especially how these particular foreigners fit into the relatively conservative Israeli landscape, documentarian Tomer Heymann ("It Kind of Scares Me") set to work following the lives (interestingly, not the loves) of the so-called Paper Dolls: transvestite Filipinos who in their spare time at night perform drag acts in local clubs.