Yossi and Jagger

Israeli films rarely make it over here. Last year yielded Late Marriage. A few months ago, Holy Land arrived, and now comes Yossi and Jagger. The last two are notable in their frank depiction or discussion of taboo sex. The former deals with a Hasidic student who is a little too curious about the opposite sex, while Yossi and Jagger deals with a gay relationship in the Israeli military. To make things even more taboo, Yossi (Ohad Knoller, Under the Domin Tree) is Jagger's (Yehuda Levi, As Tears Go By) superior officer. Their romance is a secret to everybody in their unit, and the only time they can spend alone is when the pretend to go out to inspect practice fields.

Yossi and Jagger is barely over an hour, and still feels a little long. There is not much to the story. Jagger is leaving the military soon, and wants Yossi to go with him. Jagger wants a relationship that is more open, where they don't have to hide their feelings for each other. Yossi is much more timid, and wants to keep things quiet. It is a strain in their relationship, but it doesn't seem like a big one. Yaeli (Aya Steinovitz, Late Marriage) is a more interesting character. She is a fellow soldier who has a crush on Jagger, and spends most of the film trying to locate him. It would have been interesting to see what could happen there, but screenwriter Avener Bernheimer isn't interested in that.

The film just meanders along, not really doing anything. Near the end, director Eytan Fox (Gotta Have Heart, Song of the Siren) has the soldiers go on a raid to the Lebanese border, which sets into motion events that are thoroughly predictable. As soon as it starts it is a little too obvious what is going to happen to who. The film itself tries to be an examination of the relationship between the two men, but never goes beyond the superficial. Also not helping is the fact that Yossi sometimes seems uncomfortable expressing his emotions to others. In this respect, it is frustrating watching people not quite say the things they want to say, yet Knoller does a good job at being 'soldier'-like and this may seem more realistic, especially for a closeted gay man in the military. What may actually be more inflammatory is Yossi and Jagger's depiction of the Israeli military. Some of the soldiers are bored and disaffected, others are just corrupt.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 5 minutes, Hebrew with English subtitles, Not Rated but contains language and sexuality, an easy R.

Back to Movies