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YOSSI AND JAGGER (2002)

Lama Productions

Official Site

Director: Eytan Fox

Producers: Gal Uchovsky, Amir Harel

Written by: Avner Bernheimer

Cast: Ohad Knoller, Yehuda Levi, Assi Cohen, Sharon Reginiano, Ava Koren, Hani Furstenberg

Rating: out of 5

This film gives gay cinema a bad name and is frankly an embarrassment to the genre. Every indignity one could bestow on a film is featured here: bad dialogue, poor characterization, pointless story line, women as mere props who do little to advance the story line and marginal acting are but just a few of the cinematic sins committed.

Director Eytan Fox, whose normal terrain is music videos, proves himself unworthy of the responsibilities that come with a feature-length film, frittering away the potential of “based on a true story”—the exploration of two gay soldiers serving their tour of duty in the Israeli army. Set somewhere on the arctic-like Israel-Lebanon border in the not-so-distant past, we are introduced to an assortment of jarheads including gay officers Yossi and Jagger. It’s never made explicitly clear just where the Israeli army stands on gays in the military, but we’re led to believe it’s a bit more extreme than the Clintonian decree of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” So theirs is a forbidden love and Yossi and Jagger must resort to sneaking off to consummate their love whenever they can, which in this case means unzipping their coats and frolicking in snowdrifts when they should be out on patrol.

There’s a weak side plot intended as a complication to this secret relationship—the arrival of two female soldiers, one of whom is unaware of Jagger’s sexual preferences and secretly pines for him, hoping to ask him out on a date. Otherwise the Israeli army, as portrayed here, is shockingly bereft of discipline, as the soldiers fraternize, fuck, and have mini-raves in the barracks. Supposedly this is necessary to diffuse the tension of army life and naturally there are accompanying conversations about death. The film limps along until the predictable climax involving a midnight maneuver in a “hot” sector along the border where the soldiers face obvious peril and their mundane premonitions of death become fact. The only problem with such predictability is it doesn’t come soon enough. Long before the climactic ending you’ll be rooting for the unseen enemy to overrun base camp and put us all out of our misery.

—Nancy Semin

 

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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