Screen - February 10, 2003
Kira Taszman

Love in Unifrom

Eytan Fox is a permanent commuter at the moment. For the interview he just flew in from Tel Aviv and feels good at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, as he is filming in both towns at the moment: "It is a bit strange that I have to talk about my last baby now", he says about his well praised Panorama-contribution Yossi & Jagger which tells the story of a gay relationship between soldiers.

The low budget-production didn't get any support of the army as usual for film projects about the military. "They said that the relationship of an officer to his subordinate is illegal, but I think that was just an excuse in times of political correctness." Therefore the team had to reconstruct army bases, uniforms or trucks in difficult spadework. Then the film became a huge success, especially at recruits, and was screened four months without interruption at the Cinematheque: "Known macho soldiers cried seeing the film. The tragedy of the gay love story was an alienation for them, which allowed them to mourn for lost friends."

Fox doesn't show soldiers as fearless IDF-fighters, but as "kids who are not interested in the fight but wanna dance to Techno".

The acceptance of gay people in the Israeli society has increased in the last years, says Fox. Also the two main actors Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi accepted their roles without hesitation. Levi (Jagger) is a known soap-star in Israel and a teenie idol. "His female fans even take pictures of the cinemas screen when he appears. I was afraid how they would react to the gay kissing scenes", the director recalls. "At the beginning there were disgusted 'iiihhhs'. But at the end everybody cried".