a hard-nosed tale of sexual longing, military style.
Prior to achieving international fame on the indie film circuit, Israeli writer and director Eytan Fox made his cinematic debut with this seldom seen piece, being in effect the forerunner to his more famous works Yossi & Jagger / 2002 and The Bubble / 2006.
In this instance, the story that inspired more of the same relates to Israeli soldier Yonatan, who along with his platoon finds himself with some much-needed time off in Jerusalem. Mixing cream cakes and conversation with four American girls in the City of David, Yonatan opts to leave his friends for a walk in the park. Only his quiet reflections upon life, let alone his desire for sexual intimacy with his commanding officer Erez are about to take a surprise left turn, when the park toilet provides a base camp for some tactical manoeuvres of the man-on-man kind.
Complete with a liberal dose of political views on the Arab-Israeli conflict, this well-executed mini-feature in realistically detailing the bonding rituals of army life, firmly established Eytan Fox's trademark theme of homosexual desires set against the backdrop of military life. Only this is a story more concerned with a soldier coming to terms with his sexual desire for a man who treats him with humiliation, rather than affection, than the reality of war. Namely a series of pent-up emotions that are conveyed almost without words Brokeback Mountain style, subtle expressions that tell us everything, without actually saying anything. Or do they? For is Erez a man who doth protest too much?
To that end, Gil Frank as Erez and Hanoch Re'im as Yonatan are splendid in the roles of a commissioned and non-commissioned officer who develop a mutual understanding in ways that are certainly not to be found in the army training manual. And yet this hard-nosed tale of sexual longing, military style ends just as the relationship between the two men is starting to evolve, leaving you wanting more. And of that Fox did deliver; albeit in twelve years time!
available on DVD as part of the Strand Releasing catalogue - 'Boys Life #5' release