Cinecity Diary – 27th November – Yossi
‘Yossi’ is an engaging and brilliant piece of film making. It may not come with the big bells and whistles we are used to, it may be a bit simple for some, but it is an uncomplicated feel good story that is compelling viewing for the entire running time.
‘Yossi’ tells the tale of a closeted Israeli man played by Ohad Knoller. Ten years have passed since Yossi lost his lover and soul mate while serving their time in the Army. He is now a Doctor working a Hospital in Tel Aviv as a Cardiologist. He has substituted is depression over his loss with a case of workaholism. When he almost kills a patient during a routine operation he is forced to take a holiday. Whilst he is away Yossi meets Tom, an openly gay and carefree young soldier. Can Yossi get over his self-inflicted boundaries to let Tom in and find a new lease of life?
Yossi is actually a sequel to a film in 2002 called Yossi and Jagger, and with this return for both lead actor and director we see that the pair are a force to be reckoned with. Eytan Fox brings us a film that is uncomplicated and unassuming, hooking you in with a story that is hard to resist, from start to finish.
Yossi may seem a little too simple at first, but then you realize that Fox is driving the pace along with subtle yet arresting imagery. He has a real talent for show a real and meaningful intimacy between the main players, enabling the viewer to connect with them deeply. Nothing feels forced and when the end comes it feels like you have only been sitting there for a few minutes as oppose to the 90 min duration.
The standout though of the film, apart from the brilliant direction and screenplay, has to be Knoller’s performance. He manages to portray someone who is depressed with a gritty realism, often displaying more emotion with the smallest of facial movement than many actors can show whilst completely hamming it up. Added to that the slow way in which we see him coming out of his depression is compelling viewing. Zehavi who plays Tom is also puts in a brilliant turn. He is the ying to Yossi’s yang. Out spoken and extrovert and feeds perfectly of Knoller’s performance. The pairs awkward sexual tension is convincing and amusing to watch as Tom tries to eek Yossi out and resolve his loneliness.
I have not seen Yossi and Jagger, and after seeing this film I really wish I had. ‘Yossi’ feels very much like a sequel. Everything is explained in time, but without prior knowledge to the back story you are left guessing for the first 45 mins.
At the end of the day, ‘Yossi’ is an engaging and brilliant piece of film making. It may not come with the big bells and whistles we are used to, it may be a bit simple for some, but it is an uncomplicated feel good story that is compelling viewing for the entire running time.