There are only two locations in Yossi & Jagger: a claustrophobic, anthill tenement for Israeli soldiers and a hidden forest inlet just outside its staked-out perimeter. They represent, naturally, two very different social levels of homosexual acceptance for the film’s title characters, respectively a repressed army general and his barely-containable second-in-command (in both senses of the designation). In the cramped halls of the base, homosexuality is treated as a joke at best. When Jagger asks another jocular soldier, “What if I were gay?” the other soldier replies “We’d all fuck you, you’re pretty enough.” But on the hillside, the impossibly blue-eyed Jagger feels free and uninhibited enough to sing along to what his secret lover Jossi scowlingly refers to as “queenish music,” and even changes the lyrics to transform the song into a playful ode to backdoor lovemaking. In the film’s spare running time, director Eytan Fox strips away almost anything that doesn’t present a dichotomy of conflict. He lets the simple divisions of gay/straight, men/women, fast/slow, adventurous/reserved become the essence of the film’s ultimately tragic take on Israel’s policy of mandatory military service. Just as Yossi isn’t the only character that opts to keep his true feelings locked deep inside himself, Jagger’s tendencies to pursue personal fulfillment shows up in other characters, not least of which the female soldier with a hopelessly futile crush on Jagger, but also including the burgeoning gourmet chef who spends his military days slumming over meatball sushi. The crucial point, and what ultimately helps the film stand tall amid the overpopulated gay cinema ghetto, is that youth simply cannot be contained into an institution that thrives on the total annihilation of psychological ambiguities.
The film is really mostly a muted DV job, with very little in the way of aesthetic aspirations (why waste time on complex establishing shots when you've got naturally attractive actors?), so the unimpressive video transfer isn't much of a drawback. The audio mix, however, outpaces the video to an almost distressing level. It's like watching a home video of your kid brother surfing set to the Apocalypse Now soundtrack. Resounding bass levels and solid stereo movement. It's not Hollywood, but it'll do.
All that's included is the music video for Yossi & Jagger's answer to "My Heart Will Go On."
Films that have gained immeasurably from their star's eyes: The Wind, Sunset Boulevard, The Fury and now Yossi & Jagger.