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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

10 Years Later, Gay Israeli Sequel Finds “Yossi” Without Jagger

During the climax of Eytan Fox’s groundbreaking 2002 film about the romantic relationship between two gay Israeli soldiers, Yossi & Jagger, Yossi cradles his lover as he dies, the result of a  botched ambush. Adding insult to injury, at Jagger’s funeral, he stands by silently as the grieving parents mistake a female soldier for their late son’s girlfriend.

Ten years later, Fox gives Yossi (Ohad Knoller, reprising his role) a shot at redemption in Yossi, premiering this Friday in New York.

“I had left Yossi in such a difficult place, maybe even a tragic place, that I had this need to go back to him, to start a process of healing,” Fox, 48, told The New York Times. “It was a way for me to go back to not only where Yossi was 10 years ago but to go back to who I was 15 or 20 years ago.”

Depictions of gays in Israel have changed drastically since Yossi & Jagger, with Fox being heralded as a central figure in the cultural shift.

“He situated gay characters and gay issues at the heart of Israeli life,” said Nir Cohen, author of Soldiers, Rebels and Drifters: Gay Representation in Israeli Cinema. “At the same time he’s one of the most popular filmmakers in Israel.”

Fox’s films, including Walk on Water and The Bubble, have paved the way for works such as Eyes Wide Open, a 2009 Israeli film about two Orthodox Jewish men in love, and Mom and Dads, a TV show about a gay couple raising a child with a single mother — which just happens to be created by Yossi & Jagger scribe, Avner Bernheimer.

In Yossi, the protagonist meets a young, openly gay soldier who leads him on a journey similar to one taken by Fox and many gay men in Israel.

“Yossi was a victim of the Israel he grew up in,” Fox said. “He fears there’s a contradiction between being an Israeli man and being gay. That was the world I grew up in.”

By:           Les Fabian Brathwaite
On:           Jan 22, 2013
Tagged: , , , , , ,
  • 7 Comments
    • mattyhoff
      mattyhoff

      It’s true! As my friend said, “Tel Aviv is so gay-friendly, it actually is mostly gay and tolerates the straights.” Kudos to Israeli society for generally being so accepting, while working on the remaining issues…

      Jan 22, 2013 at 11:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mr. Enemabag Jones
      Mr. Enemabag Jones

      One of my favorite films. It really did break up stereotypes in ways that American filmmakers still can’t begin to understand.

      After the funeral at Jagger’s parents house, when they’re asking the female soldier about Jagger, and she’s talking like they were lovers for years, and Yossi had to correct them about a simple point, a favorite song I believe, and then sit silently as the parents a woman spoke about his true love. That was heart breaking.

      Jan 22, 2013 at 1:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lefty
      Lefty

      Yossi and Jagger is a wonderful film. I’m not sure if I want to see a sequel, as the first film was so perfect.

      Jan 22, 2013 at 2:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joel J
      Joel J

      A really sweet movie. I watched it on three occasions on netflix. Jagger was a real sweetheart.

      Jan 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MK Ultra
      MK Ultra

      I do wish more American gay media was like this; sweet, romantic, and yes maybe tragic love stories. Instead we get kink, bondage, promiscuous online hook ups…
      When we have such a powerful medium like media to spread our message, it’s a shame that we waste it on confirming the public’s fears and prejudices about us. We are our own Blackface.
      Where’s the gay Titanic-ish love story?
      Where’s Romeo + Romeo? Gay youth especially need to be exposed to those love stories, not shit about fetishes.

      Jan 22, 2013 at 4:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KARUADAM
      KARUADAM

      VIVA Israel!. I got the movie when it came out. I love it I love Israel, and the Israeli, HOMOS men M`m M`m: The USA have got much to learn from the hottest Israeli, men on earth.

      Jan 23, 2013 at 8:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      The movie was beautiful and sad. One of his later movies “The Bubble” about an Israeli and Palestinian gay love affair was beautiful, then shocking and will leave you thinking because of the outside circumstances of their countries that the two could not escape.

      Not sure I wanted a sequel but will definitly watch it!

      Jan 23, 2013 at 11:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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