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Arts & Culture New Film ‘yossi & Jagger’ Explores Gay and Straight Love in the Israeli Army

August 28, 2003
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The central theme of “Yossi & Jagger” is a love affair between two gay Israeli officers, but the film’s impact goes well beyond the sexual motif.

Seldom has the boredom, tension and camaraderie of men and women at war been portrayed more realistically and economically than in the 67-minute film, which has been a surprise hit among Israeli moviegoers — both soldiers and civilians.

The film leaves Israel’s hot coastal plain behind and is set entirely on a freezing, snow-covered mountaintop on the Israel-Lebanon border, where a small Israel Defense Forces unit mans an isolated outpost against unseen infiltrators and terrorists.

Carrying on their secret affair in the macho and privacy-deprived confines of their platoon, Yossi and Jagger are limited to a sensitively depicted roll in the snow.

The situation is complicated by the arrival of a colonel, accompanied by two attractive female communication operators, one of whom falls hopelessly in love with Jagger.

Director Eytan Fox, who said the film is based on an actual incident, made “Yossi & Jagger” for an astonishingly low $200,000, barely enough to pay for a wrap party at a Hollywood studio.

Fox, a native of New York City, joins other American-born directors who have created some of the most compelling films to come out of Israel, including Joseph Cedar’s “Time of Favor” and, currently, “The Holy Land” by Eitan Gorlin.

“Yossi & Jagger” opens Sept. 24 at the Film Forum in New York and on Oct. 24 in Los Angeles. Play dates for other cities have not yet been announced. For more about the film, go to

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