Yossi and Jagger (Part I)

Eytan Fox
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Eytan Fox’s 2002 film earned international acclaim for its portrayal of two male combat soldiers’ secret love story at a military base on Mount Hermon in the north of Israel. The film poster featured an image from the lovemaking scene in the snow between reserved company commander, Yossi (Ohad Knoller), and the beautiful platoon commander, Jagger (Yehuda Levi). The film also features two female soldiers – Goldie (Hani Furstenberg), and Yaeli (Aya Steinovitz Koren) who is in love with Jagger because “he’s not like all the other men” and as such, rebuffs all of Ophir’s (Assi Cohen) advances. Yaeli convinces herself that Jagger is in love with her; a mistake that gives the end of the film its bittersweet taste after Jagger is killed and Yaeli is welcomed at his home as his girlfriend, whereas Yossi remains marginalised and excluded.

Yaeli’s role in the drama is obvious. That said, nowhere near as obvious is whatever it is she and Goldie are actually doing in the army, let alone at this remote base. The two tag along for a visit with area commander, Yoel (Sharon Raginiano) – Yael, hoping to ask Jagger out, and Goldie who is planning on doing a bit of flirting with the lads. In the film, Goldie is characterised as a woman confident in her sexuality. As such, she enjoys entertaining the soldiers with juicy stories of her sexual escapades. “Myself, I’m naturally infantry-inclined,” she announces to the cheers of those around here. “And I was like, Oneg, if you’re a pilot, then I’m taking off.”

This persona, however, is briefly undermined when the commander asks her to follow him. A few minutes later, we see him emerge from inside a room, adjusting his trousers and doing up his belt. A moment later, a hunched-up Goldie follows. Running her hand through her hair she goes, “Urgh, gross. I need a wash.” This filth which Goldie is so eager to rinse off creates an impression that shagging the commander might not have been all that fun or for that matter, consensual. Are we therefore witnessing here a newfound awareness of the power dynamic between a male Lieutenant Colonel and his subordinate female sergeant, and to a greater extent the prevalence of sexually predatory behaviour against female soldiers in the army? The events that follow undermine any such impression.

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