A moving story of awakening Yossi speaks to the audience on a very intrinsic level, thanks to bare storytelling and a beautifully poignant performance from Ohad Knoller in his return to the award-winng role of Yossi , initiated in 2003 with Yossi & Jagger. Knoller should recieve a slew of awards for his resurrection of Yossi, despite the fact, or more appropriately, because of the fact that Yossi is a completely different man living an entirely different story. Regardless, Knoller delivers a sheer, delicate and touching performance in a film that forges a deep and lasting connection with viewers.
Dr. Yossi Guttman lives a cloistered existence, spent either at home with his fantasies, or at the hospital where everyone speculates about his sexuality and one nurse in particular, despite the rumors, holds a flame for him. Lacking confidence and living in the past Yossi does not know how to part company with his loneliness or his sadness. One day a familiar face walks into the hospital, unknowingly bringing with her haunting traces of Yossi’s past. Shaken, he takes a mini-vacation and hits the road, where he meets a group of young soldiers, one of which spurs a rally of emotions in him.
Knoller’s exceptional portrayal is so stirring that it is so hard to say whether the effective way in which he exposes someone so unexposed is artful or artless, intricate or simple. It is so absolute in honesty that it is actually heartrending– we can physically feel our hearts melting and our gut recognizing so much of what we see in Yossi. And, when Yossi meets Thom, played smartly with heart and sensuality by Oz Zehavi, we are treated to an special interaction that feels real and arouses hope.
With Yossi director Eytan Fox (Yossi & Jagger) and writer Itay Segal present a film that never feels contrived but is always evocative. Featured in this year’s World Narrative Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival, Yossi is not the most powerful film, but it just might be the movie that builds the strongest connection.