Yossi & Jagger

Yossi & Jagger

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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.

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DVD
Distributor
Strand Releasing
Runtime
67 min
Rating
NR
Year
2002
Director
Eytan Fox
Screenwriter
Avner Bernheimer
Cast
Ohad Knoller, Yehuda Levi, Assi Cohen, Aya Steinovitz, Hani Furstenberg, Sharon Raginiano, Yuval Semo, Yaniv Moyal, Hanan Savyon, Erez Kahana