Snails in the Rain by Yariv Mozer ›› Snails in the Rain

a film by Yariv Mozer.

2013 | 82 mins | Israel.

principal players: Yoav Reuveni / Boaz, Moran Rosenblatt / Noa, Yehuda Nahari / Nir, Yariv Mozer / Professor Richlin, Hava Ortman / Ruth, Adi Douiev / Michal, Dana Tross / Eti, Ori Yaniv / Ori, Shak Brenner / the Army Commander, Eyal Cohen / the Mechanic, Ron Paran / the Librarian, Yoni Ittiel / the Neighbour, Lior Soroka / the Student at the Library, Eyal Kentov / the Guy at the Pool, Itay Gonen / the Guy in the Park and with Yaron Biton as the Male Escort.

Official Synopsis: "Tel Aviv, 1989. Boaz; a beautiful twenty-five-year-old linguistics student receives anonymous, male written, obsessive love letters that undermine his sexual identity and interfere with his peaceful life with his beloved girlfriend, Noa."

Dave says:-

Based on a short story from the book The Garden of Dead Trees by Yossi Avni Levy, as set in the pre-email days when post office boxes were in widespread use, here writer, actor (cue the role of Professor Richlin) and director Yariv Mozer strikingly juxtaposes one man's heterosexual exterior, with the homosexual calling of his heart. And it's wonderfully played too, with the series of catalyst styled love letters that Boaz receives from his clandestine admirer, all but fanning the flames of feelings long thought suppressed.

The result in many ways is an intriguing narrative take on the whodunit scenario, with Boaz viewing every man that glances in his direction, as the possible author of such words of devotion. Yet given Yoav Reuveni's man-candy good looks, who can blame them? An international model by profession who here makes his acting debut, his subtle eye movements and sterling performance achingly detail Boaz's inner turmoil, as his peace of mind rapidly descends into the mental anguish of a man desperately trying to reconcile his heterosexual façade with same-sex yearnings of times, no longer past. Only is every man really lusting after him, or has Boaz's paranoia got the better of him?

Love letters straight from his heart in Snails in the Rain.

Love letters straight from his heart in Snails in the Rain.

For here Mozer has joyously gone out of his way to lay the homoerotic foundation stone of his work, as Boaz's doubts about his heterosexuality give rise to a series of sensual flashbacks of his military service and in particular time spent with Nir; a soldier only too keen to wrap his manly lips around those of his comrade in arms. Finely portrayed by Yehuda Nahari, Boaz's memories of yesteryear whether real or imagined, offer a confession-like insight into a mind now overflowing with thoughts of the male form, one that finds Reuveni seemingly in a state of partial or complete undress for most of the show, with the camera and not surprisingly never missing a voyeuristic trick to linger on his muscular torso and here think shower sequences, poolside changing rooms, to days out at the beach.

Boys who watch the boys go by in Snails in the Rain.

Boys who watch the boys go by in Snails in the Rain.

Yet pivotal to this evocative feature is Moran Rosenblatt who brilliantly captures the emotional intensity of a women who having experienced first-hand the savage rage of her boyfriend's increasingly volatile temperament, sets out to both unmask and confront the man behind the overtly passionate lettres d'amour. Not that his identity will arrive as a surprise, given carefully constructed shots of his body and circle of friends have all but narrowed down the line of suspects to the one, guilty party. The perfect opportunity then for Mozer to play his trump card; that of a written ultimatum by way of a lights on / off signal that will either put an end to such words of devote adoration, or force Boaz to admit a-liking for them; that of a-liking for men. Only to say more, would be a spoiler.

What can be said is that this is a film ingrained with a prevailing air of the sexual shame and climate of fear of pre-Pride days; that of "outwardly straight" men getting it on with each other in darkened woods, a professor forever closeted to the world, let alone a lead character clearly unbalanced by rampant thoughts of the male physique in all of its seductive form. But that said, there's equally no denying that in Yariv Mozer's accomplished hands this marks a captivating study of burgeoning homosexuality; that of a thriller styled psychological drama that in its beautifully poetic way poignantly illustrates one man's dormant heart being awoken to the sexual diversity of life - whether he desires it, or not. Simply enthralling.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 
premiered in the UK as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival, November 2013.
dedicated to the memory of Amos Guttman: 1954 - 1993.
official website:
Copyright 2014 David Hall -
archive reference #2014002
›› previous page | back to top | print me ‹‹
click for gay celluloid - home