La Stampa - 30 May 2003
War and Homosexuality for the Debut of Fox
With "Yossi & Jagger" Israel Tells its Worst Years
ROME. In Israel, it was very successful and was shown in Tel Aviv's theaters for three whole months, constantly drawing a crowded audience. Now, after acclaims at the Turin Gay Film Festival, Berlin and Tribeca, "Yossi & Jagger" arrives in Italy, distributed by Giovanni Tamberi's Metacinema. Directed by debuting filmmaker Eytan Fox with an adult hand, based upon a true story from few years ago, starring Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi, the local Tom Cruise, it takes place in a military base at the border between Lebanon and Israel. There, a group of young Jews in engaged in the country's compulsory military service. Because of the perennial tensions with the Palestinians, this means going to war.
All of them are in their twenties: they want to live, to dance, make love, read, study, and instead they are confronted with the nightmare of incumbent death. Two of them, Yossi, a career officer and Jagger, a fellow commander, are in love; find one another, dream of a future together, even though they do not dare revealing their homosexuality. It will all end tragically: Jagger, the more outgoing and happy between the two, is blown up by a bomb, while Yossi, the more tormented one, will not find the courage to tell their secret even after facing his partner's death.
The movie only cost two hundred thousand dollars, and was shot with the help of a cable TV. Unsupported by the army with an excuse, "Yossi & Jagger" has become a case discussed with enthusiasm and emotion. The director explains: "I believe that in an unusual way this movie allowed the Israelis to reveal what they had in their hearts. The past two years were the worst ones in our history. We cannot tell the story of war in a traditional way anymore, since we have become the bad ones and our enemies have become the good ones. The emotional confusion we feel inside found its expression in the confusion about the sexual roles with which the protagonists live their love. Even though not all Israelis are war-driven like Sharon, nor they are sensible homosexuals like Yossi and Jagger."