a film by Eytan Fox
2002 | 65 mins | Israel
›› Yossi & Jagger
a gay love story set against the backdrop of war
Yossi & Jagger by Eytan Fox This short film, as opposed to film short, tells the story of soldiers Yossi and Jagger, who together with other conscripts are stationed on a remote outpost along the Israeli-Lebanese border. Only for these two soldiers, such a tour of duty is all the more emotional, given they are in love with each other.

Yet in a country in which the military has accepted homosexuality within the ranks since 1985, both men hold contrasting views on showing their affection. On one hand, Yossi is determined to keep their love a secret given the command position he holds, whilst alternatively fun-loving Jagger wants to shout their love from the rooftops and inparticular in the direction of Ya'eli, a female soldier with the hots for him. Respecting each others views, they agree to catch tender embraces whenever and wherever they can; whether behind closed doors in the warmth of the army barracks or outside on the snow covered ground, where a solitary rabbit is all that bears witness to their secret love. Only the concealment of their love is about to be put to the test, when the realities of war hit home with devastating consequences.

Yossi & Jagger by Eytan Fox Originally produced for Israeli cable television and made within the budget confines thereof, this wartime romance ended up as a homegrown box-office hit and all-round film festival favourite. And it is not difficult to see why. For this is, at heart, a good old-fashioned gay love story; albeit one that whilst set against the backdrop of war notably stays clear of the moral and political implications of such. Instead it prefers to show the friendship of two soldiers who are, simply, in love with each other and that of the heart-wrenching climax to their relationship, one that whilst telegraphed many a reel in advance, still delivers a powerful punch and one all the more moving given it is based on a true story.

And that is the underlying message here. Namely how critical a good story is to the success of a film - running time irrelevant. This is not to take anything away from the fine performances of Ohad Knoller as Yossi and Israeli heartthrob Yehuda Levi as Jagger who are splendid in their roles, but it is to say that the real standout performance here is the narrative itself. It is one that in sidestepping such major issues as the endemic tensions and sheer bloodshed of the Israeli / Palestine conflict, allows the camera to focus on the story of love in the trenches. The result is one of the most tender gay wartime romances to hit the screen in a long time. Need more be said?
screened as part of the 17th London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival 2003
available on DVD as part of the TLA Releasing UK catalogue
starring: Ohad Knoller, Yehuda Levi, Assi Cohen, Aia Koren-Steinovits, Hani Furstenberg,
Yuval Semo, Yaniv Moyal, Hanan Savyon, Erez Kahana, Sharon Raginiano
Copyright 2005 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #143
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