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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Eytan Fox
Strand Home Video 01/13 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Loneliness is like winter: it can be a long, hard, and depressing siege of cold and darkness. No matter how we try to resist the disconnection and self-disgust it spawns, the chill takes hold of us and makes us into frozen zombies. As loneliness undermines our self-confidence, we no longer believe that we can help ourselves and we are unsure what we have to give others.
Yossi (Ohad Knoller) is a Tel Aviv cardiologist imprisoned in the kind of loneliness described above. He works too much and hasn't taken his allotted vacation break. A female colleague has been making romantic moves towards him and a fellow doctor tries to animate him with a close encounter with a beautiful woman. None of this affects or interests Yossi since he is a closeted gay man.
In several telling scenes we see him at home alone is his minimally furnished apartment where he munches on noodle dinners and falls asleep watching television. Yossi's only release is gay porn and meeting younger men (at 34, he's considered over-the-hill) on gay online-dating services. But even these entertainments have soured for him.
Things turn around when a woman shows up for a medical exam and she turns out to be the mother of a young soldier he had a secret two-year affair with while serving in the Israeli army. They had decided to come out to their parents after the war but Yossi's lover died during combat on the Lebanese border. Partly as an attempt to gain closure on his grief, Yossi visits the parents and tells them that their son was gay. It does not go over well but Yossi has a chance to see his lover's room.
The second half of this poignant study of loneliness revolves around a trip to Tel Aviv for an improvised vacation. Yossi meets four young soldiers who are staying at the same hotel. Tom (Oz Zehavi), an openly gay soldier, takes a fancy to him. Yossi enjoys the attention this man lavishes upon him but is unable to respond honestly to his many romantic overtures.
Eytan Fox directs this Israeli drama about Yossi's arduous struggle to set himself free from his mostly self-imposed prison of loneliness, isolation, and disconnection. Ohad Knoller's top-notch performance enables us to empathize with him and cheer him on when he wakes up and begins to open himself to new possibilities.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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