Gazzetta del Sud - 28 May 2003
Diversity in the Trenches

On May 30 in Theaters the Revelation-Movie of Eytan Fox

Rome - There is a time for love and humanity even inside the Israeli trenches, where hands are frostbitten and death appears at every sunset, behind every corner. In "Yossi & Jagger," Eytan Fox's revelation-movie, a box-office success in Israel in 2002, the secret passion between two army officers, destined to end in grief, symbolically becomes in the end the drama of a whole people, condemned to live with war.

The power of the movie, which reaches Italy's theaters on May 30, is in its ability to let heterosexuals and gays, soldiers and civilians, identify with a tale about diversity. Yossi and Jagger are not the only ones who are different. The same goes for all the soldiers serving in an army outpost at the Israeli border with Lebanon: the cook who makes sushi out of army rations, the soldier who rejects his religious heritage and pursues oriental practices. "I believe that in an unusual way - Eytan Fox summed up in Rome while presenting the film - this movie allowed the Israelis to deal with what they feel in their hearts after the last two years, probably the most tragic ones in their history. That is to say that the old traditional Zionist tale, of the strong and brave man fighting for his country and his family, no longer reflects the Israeli spirit. In Israel one is not only either Bibi Netanyahu or a gay man: there are many shades of love and many different men and women."

The army has had to deal with this new consciousness as well. At first, the army refused to support the movie, saying in a way that was politically correct and hypocritical at once, that what it didn't like about it was not the representation of gay love, but the relationship between soldiers of different ranks. In the end, it had to give in to the demands of entire battalions, which requested the movie to be screened. Based upon a true story, the movie depicts in a touching way the life of a group of young male and female soldiers, that at age of 18 should only be concerned with studying, dancing and loving but instead have to wear uniform and deal with an impossible reality. Yet, in spite of their life in the trenches, they look for normalcy.

For Yossi, a career officer who commands the platoon, and for Jagger, a fellow officer in service duty, being normal means kissing during an inspection, or exchanging secretive looks during meals. There is nothing unnatural, nor any trite clich? in this forbidden love, and this certainly explains why a large portion of Israeli society has identified [with the story] laughing and crying with the protagonists.