Monday, October 20, 2014

Love and War in YOSSI AND JAGGER (2002)

YOSSI AND JAGGER, directed by Eytan Fox, is a 64 minute gay romance film set in the snowy hills bordering Lebanon and Israel.  Yossi (Ohad Knoller), commander of the company, maintains a secret relationship with his second-in-command, Lior (Yehuda Levi), nicknamed Jagger for his pantomime of Mick Jagger's stage persona.  This dynamic is challenged throughout the day by commanding officers, female soldiers trying to vie for attention, and a final nighttime raid that tests the limits of love and life itself.
There are several ways that one can engage with this film critically.  As a film about homosexuality in a traditionally heteronormative sphere of civic life, it is as subversive as the later BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.  However, it is also important to recognize the film normalizes not just sexuality but also the notion of an IDF border patrol.  In this sense, the film is a typical pink wash.  The climactic battle scene in the close of the film is a simplistic one that keeps the opposition from view and emphasizes a notion of civilization against the forces of an untamed landscape, not unlike earlier Westerns from America.

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