YossiPosterFrom Tzivi’s Guide to the 2012 Chicago Festival of Israeli Cinema

About Yossi*… Yossi is a sequel to Eytan Fox’s enormously successful film Yossi & Jagger. If you’ve seen Yossi & Jagger, then you will certainly want to see Yossi, but sorry to say, it doesn’t really stand alone.

Tzivi’s Sneak Peek: In 2002, director Eytan Fox made a film for Israeli TV that became a world-wide phenomenon. Yossi & Jagger was–amazingly–a love story about two soldiers who succeed in sneaking tender moments alone together while on duty at a remote snowy outpost.

“Yossi” (Ohad Knoller) is an officer thought to be straight-laced, restrained and always in control. “Lior” (Yehuda Levi), by contrast, is so charismatic what his buddies have nicknamed him “Jagger” (after Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones). When Lior/Jagger is killed, everyone can mourn his death collectively except Yossi, the person most affected.

Fox’s new film Yossi picks up a decade later. Yossi (Ohad Knoller again) is now a physician who claims to be totally dedicated to his work but is, in fact, still in mourning and still hiding his true identity as a gay man. But his barriers are breached one day by the surprise appearance of Lior’s mother “Varda” (who was played in Yossi & Jagger by a little known actress named Yael Pearl, but is played in Yossi by Orly Silbersatz, one of Israel’s most accomplised actresses). Seeing Varda floods Yossi with memories, but for her he’s just another doctor. She doesn’t recognize him, not knowing and not wanting to know the role Yossi actually played in her beloved son’s brief life.

Alas, after this very promising set-up, Yossi goes badly wrong as Yossi spirals down before being sent off for a forced vacation to Eilat. And even Ohad Knoller, such a vivid presence in great Israeli films like Beaufort and much loved for his role in Srugim (the Israeli version of American TV’s Friends) can’t make Yossi come to life on screen.

Fans of Yossi & Jagger, who are already invested in the character of Yossi, will want to see this new chapter, but I can’t recommend Yossi to anyone else.

Yossi (right) heads to Eilat.
Yossi (right) heads to Eilat.
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