Sunday, December 18, 2005

Levi and Knoller and Gyllenhaal and Ledger, oh my!

Gnocchi-fueled procrastination (I am supposed to be getting various things accomplished, which is why I did not just go out to see "Brokeback Mountain" with the roommates) has led to the discovery of a blog post by a former classmate of mine,* comparing "Yossi and Jagger" with the aformentioned festival of gay cowboyness that, alas, I have yet to see. Jose writes:

This movie reminded me so much of Yossi and Jagger, it would have been parody if it weren’t so real. Both movie’s take a national icon/hero in Israeli society, the Soldier, in American, the Cowboy. In fact each of these movies takes two of them and has them fall in love in a setting where they are somehow isolated from teh consequences of their love.

Apparently "Brokeback Mountain," like "Yossi and Jagger," has, well, a Yossi and a Jagger, a more "out" pretty-boy and a more closeted, macho love interest. I would add that all movies of this genre have, at the very least, a character certain he is gay encountering one who is either in denial or uncertain. But Jose has far more to say than I did about these movies, so check it out. Of course, part of it is that I don't see these films as necessarily political--they are about beauty, and pushing for anything more thoughtful would require too much, well, thought. That "Yossi and Jagger" can both reveal that Israeli soldiers do things other than intimidate Palestinians, and that it's OK to be gay, is quite impressive for a film that would have been enough had it just been an hour-long celebration of Yehuda Levi and Ohad Knoller's gorgeousness. (Of course, I get annoyed every time a new entry into the "Jewish boy meets non-Jewish girl, how lucky he is!" genre reaches the theaters, so I'm not one to judge.)

*...from whom, incidentally, I was once supposed to borrow the "Yossi and Jagger" DVD, but the logistics never quite came together; I am now happy to say that I own a copy.


José said...

Thanks for the link Phoebe; I'm glad my emotional rant seemed interesting enough to comment on. Once it comes out on DVD I will certainly be buying a copy of Brokeback mountain perhaps you will be able to borrow it instead?

Phoebe said...

I would, but I now live in NYC, not Chicago. I still need to see it a first time...

So strange that Herzl was comparing tough (pre)-Israeli men with cowboys way back when...not so strange, though, in that the colonization/settling/whatever of Israel and America have plenty of parallels.

José said...

Yeah, all things considered it isn't terribly surprising. I feel like during that tiem in particular the cowboy myth was at (or else about to be coming into) one of its major peaks in Europe.

Interestingly, in Argentina, there was a particular Jewish fetishizing of the Gaucho, the Argentine Cowboy. One writer, who's name I can't recall now even created a widespread legend that the Gauchos were themselves secretly Jewish.