IN ADVANCE OF ITS COMMERCIAL RELEASE, we were very lucky–and proud–to present this long-anticipated film starring heartthrobs Ohad Knoller (the original Yossi and also Nati of Srugim fame), Oz Zahavi and Lior Ashkenazi (Walk on Water, Footnote), the amazing Israeli actress Orly Zilbershatz and more at the Center on Halsted and at the AMC Northbrook Court.
Yossi contains some adult content.
(Sippur Shel Yossi)
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Director: Eytan Fox. With Ohad Knoller, Oz Zehavi, Lior Ashkenazi, Orly Silbershatz and Ola Schur-Selecktar.
Nominee, Best Narrative Feature, Tribeca Film Festival
Ten years after Yossi & Jagger, the tragic love story of two IDF officers serving in Lebanon, Eytan Fox returns to the story of Yossi (Ohad Knoller). He is now an esteemed cardiologist, but lives alone, still closeted, unable to break through the walls and defenses built around him since the death of his lover. Even his co-workers—a recently divorced doctor (Lior Ashkenazi of Footnote fame), who tries to sweep Yossi into his world of women and drugs, and a lonely nurse (Ola Schur-Selecktar of The World is Funny)—find it almost impossible to get close. His daily routine at the hospital is shaken up by the arrival of a mysterious woman (Orly Silbershatz). He follows her, and through a surprising connection, finds a rare opportunity to deal with his trauma. Traveling to Eilat. Yossi meets Tom, a handsome, self-confident and openly gay man, who represents a new world, different from the one that shaped Yossi.
Possibly (Eytan Fox’s) most accomplished work to date. –Indiewire
AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT “PINKWASHING”:
According to a group of activists in our community, efforts to use Israel’s progressive record on LGBTQ rights is a nefarious plot to divert attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These activists have even come up with a catchy phrase to describe it: “pinkwashing.” For them, the only frame through which to see Israel is the conflict, a one-dimensional country cast as a colonial, racist oppressor worthy of the pariah status of Apartheid South Africa.
The fundamental problem with this rhetoric is that it takes two unrelated topics—Israel’s LGBTQ communities and their progress in the struggle for equality and inclusion, and the Israel-Palestinian conflict—and asserts that they are inextricably intertwined. This implies that learning about the former will somehow magically dull people’s ability to think about the latter.
Israel is a complicated, challenging, messy, inspiring, and exhilarating country. It is a land full of seeming contradictions that cannot be reduced to simplistic slogans. But one of the most remarkable things about Israel is that over the past twenty-five years there has been great progress in the area of LGBTQ rights, which has made it easier for gay people to lead open lives, create families and serve their country.
While it would be foolish to judge a country’s “advancement” solely on the rights of gays, it is a telling standard. The protection of minorities is a bedrock principle of any liberal society, and it is an indisputable fact that sexual, racial, and religious minorities are better off in Israel than they are anywhere else in the region.
This is not to suggest that Israel has become some kind of gay paradise: no country in the world qualifies for that title. It is still very hard to be gay in many parts of Israel, there are still many rights battles to be fought and won, and there have been some tragic incidents of anti-gay violence. But relative to most nations of the world, including Western nations, Israel is a good place to be gay.
All this is an inconvenient truth for those who want to demonize Israel, or turn every conversation about LGBTQ progress in Israel into an argument about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Doing so dishonors the courageous decades-long struggle of Israeli LGBTQ activists to transform Israeli society–through art and otherwise.