a film by Yair Hochner
2008 | 112 mins | Israel
›› Antarctica
close encounters of the homosexual kind; Tel Aviv style.
Antarctica by Yair Hochner With an opening montage that's steamier than a Turkish bath in the middle of a heatwave, writer and director Yair Hochner thrusts the principal characters of his work onto the screen, in scenes that provocatively take Israeli cinema to new levels of manly hanky panky!

For testosterone filled choreographer Boaz is like a dog in heat, ever up for some man-on-man action, whether it be with thirty-something journalist Ronen, his ex lover and dance student Danny, cute shop worker Mickey, repeat shagmate Eitan or even with 'blind date to be' Omer, the librarian. Not that every encounter climaxes the way he intends, given this man of books promptly headed for the door when a stray cat found the words "you're kicking your cat out for a fuck" echoing in the background!

Then again, Omer has other things on his mind. For this is a man whose sexual lust conceals a longing for love and if anything a place in life, thanks to a midlife crisis brought on by his rapidly approaching 'thirty and still single' birthday, coupled with the state of his mother's estranged relationship with his lesbian sister Shirley and in turn her own issues with on again / off again coffee shop owner Michal. Only is Omer and for that matter one and all, destined to find 'the one' who will finally melt away the ice-cold blues of their heart?

Antarctica by Yair Hochner Throbbing with sexual intimacy from actors not afraid to get down to the bare requirements of the plot, this upbeat Israeli sex romp is refreshingly devoid of the politics of the time, being primarily concerned with the lives of a group of interconnected L&G individuals. Remarkable then that this sexually up-for-it work originates from a country steeped in religious observance. But then, at heart, this is a film about the search for love. And whilst the gay take is to the fore, it is however nicely augmented by a touching lesbian tale, one beautifully played out by Liat Akta as Michal and Lucy Dubinchik as Shirley whose wish to visit Antarctica, prompts the title.

That said, this is Omer's story, with Tomer Ilan finely conveying the emotions of a man whose soulful eyes indicate a desperate desire for something more meaningful in his life. And yet it is with Ofer Regirer as Boaz and Yiftach Mizrahi as Danny that Israeli cinematic boundaries are pushed, with Regirer inparticular employing a sexually frank and here think 'hands on' approach to method acting!

True the initial head-on manflesh montage, whilst setting the homoerotic stage, announces few names, thereby requiring further concentration to be had given the number of characters on offer, ones that include the odd mix of a man obsessed with fridge-freezers, talk of visitations from an alien loving writer and a mother in drag, courtesy of Tel Aviv icon Noam Huberman aka Miss Laila Carry and who here doubles as mother Shoshana and 'man of mystery' Amram. But then such are but links in a chain, even if some are too coincidental and at times, cinematically overlong. That said and whilst both camp and sexually to the core, Hochner has laced his work with enough seductive charm to keep you hooked, along the way nicely tying together the threads of fate for the men in his celluloid life to deliver close encounters of the homosexual kind, given these boys are clearly - not alone! Wonderful.
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Guy Zo-Aretz, Lucy Dubinchik, Tomer Ilan, Liat Akta, Yiftach Mizrahi, Ofer Regirer, Yuval Raz, Oshri Sahar,
Yael Deckelbaum, Dvir Benedek, Rivka Neuman and Noam Huberman aka Miss Laila Carry
Copyright 2009 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
archive reference #223
›› previous page | back to top | print me ‹‹
click for gay celluloid - home