Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism 16 June 2003
Producer Gal Uchovsky, who spoke before and after the film, was apparently shocked to learn that people could be offended by his film. “I didn’ t expect that,” he said. To his credit, he also said that instead of building illegal settlements in Palestine, the Israeli government should use its money to splurge on a first-class ticket for him. “They flew me coach, they can’t buy me for $600,” he said after thanking the consulate for the second time for their sponsorship. He did not respond to QUIT!’ s critique, simply saying, “The Palestinians are suffering a lot right now.” He believes the film is anti-war (the subtle anti-war message is conveyed mainly by a long close-up of the words “Make Love Not War” etched into a wall in English), and says that he wanted to show that the Israeli soldiers are “just kids, and they are also victims.”’ The ’ enemy’ does not appear at all in the movie, which is plagued by sexism as well as racism. Uchovsky explained during the Q&A that the script was approved by the army, though they initially had problems with how gay it was, and was filmed in the Golan Heights, Syrian territory which has been occupied by Israel since 1967. The representative of the Israeli consulate said that the film was “not about politics, but about culture.” Activists made a few audible comments, including one about the massacres at Sabra and Shatila, but did not try to prevent him from speaking.
“Yossi and Jagger” was endorsed by the San Francisco Chronicle as the festival’s “must-see” film, and was the first to sell out the 1400-seat Castro Theatre. The crowd seemed pretty split about the action. When the lights finally came up enough for people to read the banners clearly, a fair amount of applause broke out, followed by some boos and hisses. A few audience members called “Thank you,” while others yelled, “This isn’t the place,” and “We’re just trying to have fun here.” Leafleters reported being called names and having things thrown at them, but all 400 leaflets were given out. Ushers reported that festival goers were arguing about the action while waiting in line for the next movie.