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"Yossi": A Decade of Grief and Loss 

Wednesday, Feb 13 2013

It's been 10 years since our last glimpse of Yossi Hoffman (Ohad Knoller), in director Eytan Fox's breakthrough drama Yossi & Jagger, about gay lovers in the Israeli military. Built around a fatal raid on Lebanon, that film ended on a simple shot of Knoller's sweet, smile-prone face, settling in for a long haul of grief and reflection. The face is rounder and wearier now, perpetually stubbled, the smile decommissioned. Now Yossi is alone, affectingly (if also affectedly) re-established by Fox and screenwriter Itay Segal as a broken-hearted cardiologist. He's still dwelling in the closet, and in the past. A chance encounter with Jagger's mother (Orly Silbersatz Banai) helps crack his shell, but doesn't bring closure. Colleagues (Ola Schur-Selektar, Lior Ashkenazi) will try and fail to rouse him, but that task is better suited to an openly gay young soldier (Oz Zehavi) who takes a personal interest in the Yossi resuscitation project. The movie is tenderly committed to its mournful protagonist, tempering sentimentalism with sober discretion and even some wry humor: On (mandated) vacation at a resort in Eilat, all poor Yossi can think to do with himself is sit by the pool reading Death in Venice. Gradually he begins rejoining the world that has changed around him. It's still a small world — those memories of Lebanon are too one-sided — but also, at least, a start. It'd be good to see Fox pull a Richard Linklater and visit Yossi again in another 10 years.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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