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 30-something melancholy. All the performances work here, but Knoller makes every little crack in Yossi's defenses smile-worthy.
* * *
Rating: Not rated
Cast: Ohad Knoller, Oz Zehavi and Orly Silbersatz
Director: Eytan Fox
Running time: 1 hour, 24 minutes. In Hebrew with subtitles