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Ever since seeing this sublime film last weekend, I haven't been able to
it out of my head. A friend and I saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless
Mind" the following day and while somewhat amusing, it failed to move me
the acting and too-clever style got to be more annoying than interesting
after a while. Y&J has "ruined" it for me: after seeing films so pure, so
natural, so "simple", it's almost unbearable to watch anything else. It
cemented the fact that all you need for a truly moving film is (no
a good story, good characters, good acting (not stars hamming it and ISO
an Oscar - gag), good cinematography, a good script with good dialogue and
good direction. Simple, non? Then why is it that so many films fail so
miserably on all or several of these points? Makes ya wanna
Y&J is a so heartbreakingly beautiful. I'm not a big fan of handheld camera cinema verite BS, but there is a scene in which it really does work to great effect: Yossi & Jagger having a playful snowball fight, putting down their weapons, laughing like kids, having a blast.
There are just a few select locations, and a small ensemble of actors and that's all that's needed. The actors are so natural, you almost think it's a documentary. Music is used to great effect, not giving us cues as to when we're supposed to cry and when we're supposed to laugh, but is instead perfectly weaved into the story fabric as when Jagger (so named because he has rock star charisma and looks) changes the words to a pop song and singing not in the rain, but the snow.
The two actresses and their male colleagues are all young (except the Colonel character, a big beefy macho guy) and very impressive. How I wish that we would see actors like this instead of the bore-me-to-death Hollywood stars.
This is also an incredibly sexy film with looks and unspoken words that are more erotic than anything that's coming out of Hollywood where the stunt-butts and stunt-boops in flattering light and every bump and grind choreographed to death have the unintended and complete opposite effect on me, namely laughter and/or yawning. The scene with Yossi & Jagger kissing in the snow is the most tender AND sexy I have seen in ages, and the gender of the participants is completely irrelevant. It's beautiful, period. (I'm female and straight by the way).
The film also has a very satisfying end, which I of course won't reveal, but I just want to say that it was the perfect way to end it: on a upbeat note, but not in a corny gag-me way.
90 minutes and I was mesmerized and am still haunted by this film. Who needs freakin' 2 hrs. plus, a huge production, big stars? Watch this film and you'll never be able to watch products off the Hollywood
assembly line again in the same way.
Oh, and did I mention that Yehudi Levi (born 1979) who plays Jagger is unbelievably to-die-for-gorgeous with a 1000 watt charisma and a sweetness that makes you want to hug him, after you kiss him all over? Straight women and gay men, beware - he will break your heart.
Hope we get to see him and some of the other cast members in other films, but if Hollywood comes calling Yehudi - give 'em the finger, will ya? Hook up with someone in Europe and make a great movie there. Please?!
I'd never expect such a film from Israel.
I found the movie with a mixed style is somewhat inconsistent at some spots, and some of the music used is kind of tacky, and overall feeling of the movie is very low budget. But within a running time less than an animated film, this movie delivers a complete story with genuine feelings, touches many grounds, and manages to be moving and leaves your heart ache by the time when end credit rolls.
Maybe it's true that the running time of the movie is a stretch for a theatrical release, and the same story in a heterosexual content would not have been much an impact. But still, it's the most wholesome gay film I have ever seen. I'm disappointed that it was not received better at the Cinema21. There were like 5 people for the Sunday night show. Americans are notorious for shun away any movies with sub titles, straight or not.
This just has to be one of the most haunting movies I have ever seen.
That it has taken an Israeli film crew, Israeli actors. with the
backdrop of the sad history of conflict in that troubled region, makes
the film even more stunning.
I was surprised to learn that Israel has allowed gay men and women to serve in their armed forces since the mid eighties. That the military in Israel allowed this film to be made is a credit to a nation that I do not normally admire.
The plot has been detailed in earlier comments and the comment has been made that the film is too short. I would have liked to have seen more of Yossi and Jagger, perhaps going one that long dreamed of holiday that was so important to Jagger. Despite the films short running time,this film just has to be the best ever made on what still remains a controversial subject, even in this enlightened time. Can one even contemplate this film being made in Turkey for instance..not a chance!
This is definitely a film that deserves a wide audience. I doubt that it will ever be equalled so make an effort to see this wonderfully moving and tragic tale.
I'd like to start with the fact that I hate movies about military and
war. We had much too many of them and they are always hard to swallow
because they always end in a catastrophe. That's why I didn't want to
see "Yossi and Jagger" at first. But then I read that it's supposed to
be a good movie with a tender love story; I swallowed and gave it a
try. I'm glad I did this. I wouldn't go so far and call the whole movie
good but it does have the most touching and beautiful love story I've
seen in a long time.
I think it's no secret what the movie is about: We are in a military base in Israel and ordinary young people cope with the daily horror each in their own way. They make jokes about it, try not to be serious and look for ways to not think about it the whole day. Some do it with reading, others with music, the commander with sex for we are in a mixed camp here with two girls being in it. And then there are Yossi and Jagger close friends in the official version, closeted lovers in reality. Yossi is Jagger's boss and both are the stars in their base for in their very own way both young men are special. Yossi is the serious and more reserved one he doesn't speak very much, always concentrates on his job and is scared to come out. Jagger (named after Mick Jagger cause he's a bit of a rock star himself) is the more flamboyant, vivid, playful and childish one he's romantic, he is a dreamer, he makes plans for his future with Yossi and wants a love like in a Hollywood movie. It's stunning you wouldn't guess they're a couple because they learned to hide it very well, but when they are alone you get a hint at how much they love each other. But, alas, we're in a war movie here and no matter how strong the love between the two young men is and how hopeful they are towards their future the ugly reality will destroy it.
You might have an idea of how the movie ends and I won't spoil it for you. Despite this fact I would really recommend this movie to everyone. Also because of the two great protagonists: Israeli TV star Yehuda Levi is terrific as Jagger and the charismatic Ohad Knoller is simply wonderful as Yossi (he was awarded for his performance). Hands down for an unusual love story that will break your heart but that you simply can't help falling in love with.
YOSSI & JAGGER (Yossi VeJager)
Aspect ratio: 1.37:1
Sound format: Stereo
Originally produced for Israeli television but screened theatrically in Tel Aviv to great success before opening nationally to even greater commercial and critical acclaim, this engaging drama from director Eytan Fox has been hailed in some quarters as one of the best gay movies ever made. Running a mere 65 minutes, the film divides its time equally between a platoon of soldiers operating on the Israeli-Lebanese border, and the two men at the center of a clandestine relationship.
Yossi (Ohad Knoller) is a brooding commander who feels constrained by his role as a macho authority figure to conceal his sexuality from the conscripts under his command, while Jagger (Yehuda Levi, a popular Israeli heartthrob whose career was kickstarted by an appearance in the TV soap opera "Cheers for Love" in 2001) is one of his subordinates, a carefree guy who wants them to declare their love publicly by retiring from the Army and setting up house together. There's a now-famous scene, early in the movie, when Yossi and Jagger make love in the snow (don't get excited - all you see are some lingering kisses and the aftermath, in which the two characters are entirely at ease with one another, free from the restraints imposed by Army discipline), but their romance takes up a surprisingly small amount of the movie's running time, which appears to have been curtailed for reasons of length (there's a number of images doing the rounds from scenes which were apparently shot but didn't make it to the final print). Based on a true story, the film is warm-hearted but inconsequential, with some annoyingly jerky hand-held camera movements, and the climactic scenes are a little too restrained to be entirely successful (though Knoller, in particular, gives a truly remarkable performance in the aftermath of a devastating plot development). There's still much to admire, and any reservations are dispelled by the central romance, depicted with disarming frankness and performed with relish by Knoller and Levi. Highly recommended.
Eytan Fox, the talented Israeli director of the extraordinary film
"Walk on Water" is a man who clearly has his feet well planted on the
ground. His lyrical "Yossi and Jagger" proves he is man who can deal
with a lot of controversial subjects in a realistic and convincing way.
This brief film packs a lot for a 65 minutes feature, but in spite of its short length, what comes out of the story feels real and we don't begrudge the brevity in which it was presented. The story of Yossi and Jagger is presented without phony touches, that in the hands of another director, of worse yet, a Hollywood studio, would have been meaningless.
This is the story about two men who happened to be in love and the consequences of something that goes terribly wrong that ends their involvement. The two central characters stay with the viewer for a long time, which says a lot about Mr. Fox and the way he has presented his tale about how fate intervenes in the lives of these young men.
Ohad Knoller and Yehuda Levi give good performances as Yossi and Jagger. These actors make their characters work on the movie because of the intensity of their contribution to the film.
Mr. Fox is to be congratulated for his inspired direction.
I was a little hesitant to rent this movie after seeing "Trembling Before G-D", which was a real eye-opener to me. I guess we go around with our heads in the clouds, not thinking what other homosexuals have to go thru for their religion.... But , the two movies had nothing in common except they were made in Isreal. Yossi and Jagger is a bittersweet love affair between two Isreali soldiers, very well played by Yehuda Levi , and Ohad Knoller, you could feel the love they had for each other and the hurt Jagger was going thru because they had to be so careful as they were officers. Its hard to get a real grip on the characters as its only 67 min long and leaves you grasping for more. But Eytan Fox did a splendid job with the time he had. The song that Jagger sings is haunting in the extra video on the disc. I felt that these men brought back to Isreal some hope that you can have same sex love without the terrible angst they had in Trembling Before God . I give this great little flick 41/2 of 5 8/10 and will be looking forward to seeing Eytan Foxs' new movie "Walking On Water". By the way you can get the words in English of the song Your Soul on the message boards for Yossi and Jagger on IMDb.
On a cold desolate hillside, during a lull in a long winter war, Jewish soldiers in far off Isreal, brace themselves against the wind, the dark night and frigid temperatures, in anticipation of an ambush. The air is frosted with both fears and idyllic dreams of a comfortable civilian life. In this tiny corner in a war torn country, two soldiers await destiny amid their shivering companions. The first is Lior Amichai, affectionately called "Jagger" for his love of the noted singer. The other is his companion and secret lover Yossi who despite command responsibilities, yearns for a time when he and Jagger can openly express their love. Arrayed against this union are the tragedies of life. There is Aya who also loves Jagger and in turn is sought after by others in the tiny force. The squad like most common soldiers, long to return home and dream of peace. It is rare that a film elevates gay love to such a poignant level, but this story does just that. It captures the true sentiments of both characters and tugs at the heart of any who have ever been in love amid the turmoil of conflict. When the war torn drama yields it's tragic outcome, it is touching, sympathetic and memorable. ****
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I rented this DVD four days ago and have watched it about 5 times since
then. There is something that is particularly moving for me about his
movie. The idea of hidden, secret love...and all the excitement and
danger that involves. The idea of tenderness in the midst of so much
rottenness (literally, in the first segment!). Naivety and violence so
close together. And the sadness (for everyone...Yossi, Jagger, Yaeli,
Lior's parents) of the inevitable societal assumption (even in the
comparatively liberal atmosphere of the Israeli army) of straight-ness
in a world of so much diversity and difference.
The only other film that affected me so deeply was "Stand By Me" which, ironically, was mentioned offhandedly in "Yossi and Jagger". The themes of deep care and concern for others (friendship in SBM, erotic love in Y&J) and the deepening and transforming of that care in light of being witness to a death are shared by both films. Themes that hit me hard. I suspect they hit many people hard, as well.
I've read several times on this discussion that a major weakness of "Yossi & Jagger" was its length...only a little over an hour. (Perhaps this is mostly seen as a weakness by those who had to pay full price it see it in a movie theater, instead of getting to watch it 5 times for $3.99! -joke-) Because the film was so short, it did not get as much plot and character development as it could have. Yes...perhaps...and yet...
It seems to me that a large part of the power of the film lies in its length. It is a real testament to Eytan Fox that, in the space of just about 15-20 minutes from the beginning of the movie, he made me care so much about both main characters. And throughout the movie, they both kept their appeal....I sympathized with both to the end. To be honest, there's not many people whom I've met for only 15 minutes, if they died a few days later, I would weep for them. Fox did that.
Furthermore, because there is so much about these characters that we do NOT know (like Lior's mother), we, like her, find the conclusion of the film to be particularly wrenching. I leave the film wanting...maybe even needing...to know more about Lior. Why was he wearing that damn rabbit costume to begin with?? What was his childhood and teen years like?? How did he and Yossi meet? fall in love? How long had they known each other? And what about Yossi? What will he do now? Yes....I would have liked the film to end with a shot of him sleeping alone in a queen sized bed in a hotel in Eilat...but that would have been too easy...too tidy. What does he do now? I don't know. So many questions...and no way of finding out.
I leave the film realizing that time and love are precious...so damn precious.
There is a big problem with this film--its two main subjects are alone
together less than five of the 110 minutes. We know nothing of their
history, how they met, and we learn very little about them during the movie.
The script is over ambitious, covering at least three love stories at one
time, introducing too many interesting characters, but way too thin in
development. Since the film is called Yossi & Jagger, it might have been
appropriate for the story about them to be the main focal point. The opening
scene on the snow, while sexy, could have been a lot more developed.
BUT, there are very tender moments, especially after the explosion of the land mine, when Yossi finally admits his love and concern, ironically too late for it to do any good. The excellent theme here--when you have feelings for someone, don't run from them or hide from them as you may never have a chance to express them.
The final scene in Jagger's home is extremely tender and ironic and left this viewer with tears in his eyes.
I just wish the film could have devoted much more time to its main characters.
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