Film Review: 15 YEARS (directed by Yuval Hadadi)

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by Dale Reynolds on April 24, 2020

in Film

A CRISIS OF NORMALCY

Israel, in spite of its ultra-orthodox religious influences, is a fine country for LGBTQ rights. And its film industry has certainly proven it with some outstanding pro-gay films: (Yossi & Jagger [2002], Walk on Water [2004], The Bubble [2006]). Now it has another winner in a thoughtful and entertaining examination of a deeply-disturbed gay architect and his world. Yoav (Oded Leopold), 42, is a tall, ruggedly handsome, and virile man who has is just celebrating his fifteenth anniversary with his lover, Dan (Udi Persi), 38.

But Yoav’s life is unraveling as he has to confront his conflicted feelings over his father who is dying, his best female friend, Alma (Ruti Asarsal), a mixed-race Israeli, also 42, who is newly pregnant, a fact that unsettles Yoav as she had withheld this information until his anniversary party. This also triggers in Dan a strong desire to become a father himself.  That, however, is not at all what Yoav wants, leading him into some self-destructive and semi-horrific acts, including breaking up with Dan, and tricking with a 19-year-old soldier who has a death wish.

Soundly written and directed by Yuval Hadadi, this 89-minute piece has been beautifully shot by Yaniv Linton, making the Tel Aviv setting gorgeously cosmopolitan. His story certainly resonates in most of our civilized cultures as the universality of being “the other”; even as Yoav leads a so-called normal life of job, partner, friends, etc., his tale is intriguingly available. Hadadi also has the artistic sense to not fully explain what is happening, but rather to allow his viewers to piece together Yoav’s complicated journey with himself and his surroundings. And for those interested in this next bit, there’s just enough nudity and sexual activity that — even as it stops just short of an NC-17 rating — is still ever so watchable.

Hadadi’s work with the actors also reflects his less-is-more aesthetic, with Leopold firmly in control of his character’s errant behavior amid inner agitations. The supporting cast also contributes well, making their storylines compelling, if truncated. But the biggest asset is Leopold, with his solid masculinity on display next to Persi’s loving confusions over what has happened to their relationship. The film has played successfully in a variety of LGBTQ film festivals around the world, but due to the Coronavirus crisis, is now released on DVD and internet watchings.

photos courtesy of Breaking Glass Pictures

15 Years
Breaking Glass Pictures
Israel | 89 minutes | color | NR
in Hebrew and English with English subtitles
DVD & VOD release on April 28, 2020

Online VOD Platforms
– iTunes
– Amazon instant Video
– Google Play
– Vudu
– FandangoNOW

Local Cable & Satellite Providers
– iNDEMAND
– Vubiquity
– DirectTV

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Marsha Bornstein June 3, 2020 at 8:57 pm

I would like to view 15 Years for The Louisville Jewish Film Festival, held in February.

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