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'Yossi' a poignant sequel, 10 years later

By Robert Abele, Special to Tribune Newspapers

March 7, 2013

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Ten years after Israeli filmmaker Eytan Fox's "Yossi and Jagger," a tale of tragic romance between gay army soldiers stationed in Lebanon, comes a sweet, sad and short follow-up called "Yossi."

Now a heart doctor but still closeted, Yossi (Ohad Knoller, back in the role) lives in a kind of cloistered emotional limbo of unfulfilling Internet hookups and defensive postures toward attentive colleagues until the unexpected appearance of Jagger's mother (Orly Silbersatz) for a checkup awakens him toward opening up more.

When finally spurred to take a long-overdue solo vacation to seaside Eilat — the place he and Jagger always intended to go — he's drawn into a circle of young Israeli army officers. One of them, an impossibly handsome, openly gay soldier named Tom (Oz Zehavi), helps Yossi, to borrow a chick-lit phrase that aptly describes the movie's second half, get his groove back.

Predictable if measured uplift aside, Fox keeps "Yossi" effortlessly affecting, graced with deadpan humor and a knowingness about lonely lives. Then again, would it be as enjoyable without Knoller?

His wary aura of compartmentalized happiness in the first film has aged into a powerfully magnetic thirtysomething melancholy. All the performances work here, but Knoller makes every little crack in Yossi's defenses smile-worthy.

'Yossi'
No MPAA rating
Running time:
1:24
Opens: Friday at Landmark's Century Centre Cinema