Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Ha-Sippur Shel Yossi
Israel, 2012. Screenplay by Itay Segal. Cinematography by Guy Raz. Produced by Leon Edery, Moshe Edery, Eytan Fox, Amir Harel, Hicham Kadiri, Ayelet Kait. Music by Keren Ann. Production Design by Mor Barak. Costume Design by Mira Carmeli, Chen Carmi. Film Editing by Yosef Grunfeld.
Ten years following the events of Eytan Fox’s first breakthrough film Yossi & Jagger, he catches up with the protagonist of his minor romance and lets us in on his current situation. Yossi is now done with the army, finished medical school and working as a heart surgeon in Tel Aviv. His romantic encounters are little more than failed attempts to hook up with guys online, which as we see from an early example in the film are nothing short of brutal (people take it quite personally when you don’t use a recent photo in your profile). Haunted by the memories of a lost love, he faces Jagger’s family for the first time in years, tells them the truth about his relationship with their son and then hits the road for a much-needed vacation. On his way to Sinai, he gives four soldiers on furlough a ride and decides to stay with them instead of his original destination; as one of the soldiers turns out to play on his team, this is a potentially beneficial situation for him. Memories, disappointments and a generally negative attitude towards life get in the way and Yossi resists the attention of his new potential connection despite the fact that his young friend sends signals that couldn’t be more blatant if he had a burning fire going and a blanket in his hand. It’s a sweet, poetic little number of a film, extremely well acted and true to the heart, and much more poignant than its predecessor. The only thing it is missing is plausibility: I fully accept that a hot young thing like Oz Zehavi would go for an older, pudgier and unkempt man, but I don’t believe he would be attracted to a person who never shows the slightest bit of personality, lightness or charm…surely there could have been a way to make Yossi downtrodden without him being so glum. Still, as an audience member it is not that hard to spend this film’s modest running time with either of them, particularly given Fox’s smart dialogue and direction, and a subtler attitude towards melodrama than was shown in his slightly overripe The Bubble.