Thursday , June 17 2021

The shocking life of Israel's most famous gay porn star – Life & Culture



In an inner room in a darkened club are two young men in work clothes. They are stylish and muscular. When they wait to go on stage, high bass sounds are heard and electronic music is heard clearly in the room. When sitting next to each other on a couch, they participate in conversation. Apparently, the two have met earlier: "Do you still live in Barcelona?" Do you ask the other one. "Still working in porn?" The other man answers: "No, last year my sister got cancer, I could not do anything." "Is she okay now?" Asks the first man. "She died in February."

While this update and comfort take place, they are both engaged in something else as well. As part of the preparations for the show to start, a live sex act on the club scene, they handle their penis, which aims to create and maintain erection. There is nothing erotic about it, it is purely mechanical, almost completely unintentionally. It's not a sensual gesture, seemed to generate pleasure, but more like a tool's polishing, with a hand console, flickering strokes, the other rubbing. The dissonance and dissociation between their actions and their attitudes leave the viewer terrified.

The opening scene "Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life", a new documentary by Tomer Heymann, leaves no room for doubt. Those who read a description of the film that follows a decade of Israeli gay porn star Jonathan Agassi's life but who expect some refinement or concealment will be disappointed. "Jonathan Agassi", like the man himself, does not hit the bush or commiserate with the audience. The film presents a certain world and a person within it, layered and full of contradictions. Thus the reality and its axiom are questioned about allowed and forbidden, good and evil, constantly in this film. For a moment, things are presented through the star of the film and then they are reflected through the eyes of the director, and then, ever down, through the world of prostitution and drug, until the last battle.


Lucas entertainment

"The first time I saw the movie, I could not express a sound. For the second time, I thought I could react and talk, but I started crying," said Agassi.

Is it hard to see yourself through someone else's eyes, someone who presents fractures and chinks in the story you have said about a person who has found happiness and top of the world?

"The movie is not hard for me, I do not look at it and experience the hard time I went through. Now that I look back on that decade it was really a story, but I was not aware of it until I saw the movie. Knowing about the movie Tomer planned to redo me, but nobody imagined, no one could imagine how I described it that it would be so sad documentary. "

Perhaps because it contains things that you did not look directly at, that you did not call by name, something that Tomer did?


Amnon Sinai

"Yes it's possible."

For three months, the film has played at local cinemas to packed halls, accompanied by hardly any advertising and no media. Last summer, he received a prize for best documentary and an editing prize at the Jerusalem Film Festival. By that time, the exultant got the reviews, but most of the time stayed under the radar. It should change as of November 11 when it will start screening as an expanded Channel 8 series, which was one of the movie's financiers from the start. (Agassi, his mother and two brothers also appeared in a previous series from the brothers Heymann, "Families", broadcast on Channel 8 2013). A few days later, it will compete for the best film prize at IDFA's documentary film festival in Amsterdam. This is a long time for the star to get used to exposure, not that exposure ever was a problem for him.

"The story begins well before porn"

Jonathan Langer, 34, was born in Brooklyn and raised in Holon. He would be the first to describe himself as an exhibitionist. It is not his performances in pornographic films or the ease with which he exposes his body (even in scenes from the movie where he is not "in service", he walks around half naked). He seems to have documented himself since he became aware of himself. His personal computer contains, as the movie shows thousands of pictures and videos, from childhood to the fore, even before he invented himself as Jonathan Agassi.

His parents divorced when he was six months old and his relationship with his father was almost nonexistent. His mother Anna, on the other hand, played a key role in her life, and in the film. Some pictures in the film seem like allusions to a Pieta tableau, with a mother who dares his tortured son, full of unconditional love for him – even when wearing clothes and stiletto heels. Anna and Jonathan currently live in a small apartment in southern Tel Aviv. The film can follow Jonathan through the twists of life, but is largely focused on his relationship with his mother, and how she succeeds in being in her confused life. It's a life that always seems to have been stormy, even though he did not know it.

"The story begins well before porn," he says, lighting a cigarette. "I was a sensitive and feminine boy. I only had girlfriends, never boys, I was a gay type of boy," he said with a smile. "I always showed sexuality. There was a shop on Sheinkin Street for accessories, such as fur pockets. I was 14 years old with razor-sharp eyebrows, and I enjoyed shopping there. I had a lot of social problems, being so girllike. To be successful at school was routine. It happened every day, but I would fight back. I do not know how to describe that period. "

We are coming back to that time and what happened then, which may have affected his sexual maturity and his external exhibition of sexuality at a young age.

Later lost his virgin at the age of 14 to an older man who told him to shut his eyes and pretend he was a woman. What he thought was a man. A year or two later, he tells him, he came open out of the closet, even though he says "I was never in a closet and always went to the furthest."

He never finished high school and finished only 10 years of schooling. Instead, he studied makeup and hairdresser and worked in a store that was part of a large jewelry chain, which made up for makeup as an artist for fashion shows. It was quiet year. He rented a room with another man and filled up his income on weekends by working at a sex store near the old bus terminal in Tel Aviv.


Ethan Tal

"It was a shop for straights, with peepshows, the best thing you can get. I had a lot of time to kill on weekends, which is when I started to interest me for porn. Those were the years I was the most beautiful, with a good body and good appearance. "He says he does not consume pornography until he worked in the store, which also coincided with him and his partner split up when Langer was 23 years old.

"When I worked in the store, I would take out DVDs and look at the features behind the scenes. By camera, they have food and people looking for all your needs. Everything you do is rest and wait for the next scene," he laughs. "When my partner and I split up, I went back to my mother in Holon and I was in a confused state. One day I saw an online advertisement looking for pornstars. It was not a big company, but I realized there was something there. "

He began applying for auditions. At the same time, as fate would have, Michael Lucas, an avid Zionist director and owner of Lucas Entertainment, one of the largest porn-producing companies in the United States, came to Israel to guide a movie with leading local men. Later jumped on the chance and was quickly offered a role. While the film was still underway, despite the fact that Israel's men became one of the most profitable gay porn features, he was signed for another two productions.

That's when the name "Jonathan Agassi" was born, an alter ego that he describes in the current movie as a superhero, a character that helps him, who always stands for his side. Jonathan Agassi became a star almost overnight. From a young man from Holon, who had almost never left the country, Langer became a world man, moved around, familiar with all the world's airports. He still describes the period as the happiest in his life.

"For me, gender was always something free," he tells and crosses his legs on the couch. "To do sex never seemed like something forbidden, the body is something good and beautiful and I was always comfortable with nudity. Porn suited me like a glove." But when he told her mother about her new call, she had a predictable reaction, saying He: "What in the world are you doing ?!" And the like. The thing is, I'm good at persuading people, and I could convince her too. I was on a contract that prohibited drug abuse, and I was not in that world anyway. As an innocent child, it looked organized and charming, with people who protect you and see that you do not shake. "

As a model's apartment in Milan.

"Exactly. That's what it might seem."

Pornography, though – and it may happen that it suited Agassi – was a gate to a dive in the deep. And it seems that the persuasive Agassi sued himself to fool both himself and those who were around him for a long time. Even when it should have been clear that the life he sold would actually collapse around him, the truth was difficult to penetrate into the wall he built about himself.

"I can say today that there were many situations where I could say I was naive. I really saw things that way and when I believe in something I will do everything to make people see things like that. At the end of the movie I say that all I was fighting for, all people told me about what I did, things I did not want to listen to – it all happened. I fell just as they said I would. I thought so much and wanted to a lot that I did not see it coming. "

Perhaps there was something in you who longed for it?

"Absolutely. I wanted it very much. Exhibitionism is the word that best describes me."

Why did not you go for legitimate conduct?


Itay Azrieli

"I never wanted. Maybe if I would have been a model, it would have worked, but I think I would have reached the same place at the end. That's what I think."

The combination of your character, a lot of money and a lot of temptation would have taken you to the same place?

"Yes, to the same place. It's not the porn that took me there, it's the style of life that's associated with it. Much free time, lots of money to go around the world, and escorting is just one of the many steps on the way down. "

"A trip with a client"

Ten years is about a picture that ends in collapse. The young Agassi was on top of the world. He had an exclusive contract with Lucas Entertainment, and became a busy actor raked in thousands of dollars per movie. Along with the movie actors, he started playing live sex shows. Originally there were sex industry conferences, which try to maintain an air of dignity and order. Then he appeared on six parties at clubs in Israel and abroad. Eventually, after refusing offers for a long time, he started working as an escort as well. He tells his sister in the movie that when he says "a trip with a client," that's what it means and adds that he's not a prostitute, more like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.

A personal crisis led to further deterioration. He decided to move to Berlin, where he began, perhaps unknowingly, on a journey of self-destruction. "Drugs and sex are abundant and available in Berlin, but it took me two to three years before I became a daily user. I had a nice apartment in Berlin, I worked a lot, and people recognized me on the street and turned my head when I went. "

However, after two years things started to go down. "I moved away from taking drugs once a month to use them on weekends, at parties. And then I start the weekend on Thursday and end on Wednesday, sleep a half-night and start over. I was not afraid of anything, I just wanted to tear in everything I could. I was sure the death was nearby.

"I started with coke and it was a fairly quiet period of 2-3 times a week. I still traveled a lot for shots and performances." My career went well. "

On one of his travels, Agassi tried crystal meth, "even though I knew the drug and what it does and that it's a dangerous one." He was immediately connected.

Was there no warning signs? No alarm clocks in your head?


Lucas entertainment

"All the warnings were there. I knew people died of hard drugs in the clubs, I knew but I did not listen." My character is always going beyond the boundaries. "I have no fear. The last hit me, I'm not afraid of it . "

From that moment, his life shifted between drinking GHB, a muscle relaxant used in high doses as "fat-tight", which consumes the crystal ("you become an animal without inhibition or fears") and massive exploitation of prostitution. On a routine day, Agassi had no fewer than five customers, but sometimes it was more than 12. He estimates that his income exceeded one million shekels ($ 270,000) during these years. Sometimes he would make 3,000 shekels in one day. "But I would smoke it or inject it the next day. I was surrounded by people like me and it usually seemed that the day revolves around sex and drugs."

This deterioration is slowly and gradually depicted in the film, and is almost unthinkable. Even today it is difficult to pierce the shell around Agassi. If during the first part of the film wondering if the viewer is looking at a really happy prostitute and giving up old-fashioned concepts of immortality of prostitution, it is only during the second half of the year that it is clear that there is no such thing as a happy sex worker who does not suffer of serious physical and mental consequences.

"Everything seemed beautiful and good"

Even today it is difficult to convince Agassi about this two years after he left after the operation was intended to repair tears in the body caused by sex with men and his porn work and after a recovery period in months he spent at his mother's house. In episode four of the TV server (although not included in the movie version), we see Agassi preparing for a new type of show. He will stand at one stage, surrounded by peepholes, and will delight an anonymous sexual body has left its way. It's a very dark scene, a cruel one, and Agassi looks like one of his humanity is removed by his self-denial and self-destruction, utilized as a sex doll for many users who touch him and herself. He is so confused that his eyes shine when he talks about the new work: "People respected me and was good to me but it was fast work. I would wake up, answer a call and go where I needed to go. I would not call That prostitution, it seemed like any other job. "

But you needed to take Viagra in advance, you took drugs, and what did it do for your body and met at least five men a day?

"I did not see the negative impact on my body and mind. Until this day I do not see it. I think many negative things did not come from escorting."

There's a weird mix in you, Jonathan. On the one hand, you have experienced the lowest things in life, really dark aspects, but you have some terrible naivete about people and their intentions, what they see in you, and what purposes they use you, and above all, what all this does to you.

"You know, I do not think I ever thought about what it did to me. I did not see it." I did not see self-destruction even when it was obvious. My mother says I've never listened to my body. Now it's different, I'm trying to listen. Then I was deep in ecstasy and the truth is that even now I look at that period and do not see it as a difficult one. I do not see it as destructive. "

Jonathan, you were high all the time.

"It's true, but I'm proof that there are happy whores."

You must be pulled all the time to succeed.

"I wanted to be pulled."

Would you have reached that situation without being on drugs all the time?

"I think so, but I can not distinguish it because it was all a package – porn, escorting, drugs. Everything seemed beautiful and good. I did not feel I was in a banned or bad place. I never saw escort like a dark place. It finally made bad things, but it was also good. If I were a regular person, and not a user, many things would have been different or would not have happened, but I was not. "

The father and his German partner

Things that were below the surface appear in the film in uncontrollable eruptions. This is the moment Agassi still can not watch. He sometimes comes to views and keeps short conversations with the audience (responding with relief when he sees him healthy, smiling, alive). In a recent Saturday night, he avoids looking at an external display that shows what awaited what movie was and how far it was. Then he walks into the auditorium with a smile – but he can not stand for himself who rolls on the street, lies on a car and scares in a psychotic fit. It happens during the film when he is on drugs and when the question of his relationships with his father and family history comes up.

This question seems to be a bleeding sore that no one noticed, not Agassi himself. When his older brother was 13 and he was almost 12, the two were sent to Hamburg to visit his father and his German partner. It was almost the first meeting between them, and it explains – at least in Heymann's eyes, and although Agassi does not see it that way – much of what happened in the son's life. The father looked at his female son, barking and teasing him. He called him a "gay" and forced him to have sex with his (father's) adult female partner. Agassi, an 11-year-old boy, turns out to have been exposed to sexual harassment.

"I never saw it as something traumatic. Today, I realize that it was sexual harassment. I still do not understand how my father did not see it. Today I think it should not have happened. Maybe my salvation was that it was not part of My consciousness. Somebody in my subconscious always swallowed it, it was somehow related to my father, but I never took it up, I did not think it explained things. Maybe it's good. "

Like a defense mechanism?


Mari Laukkanen

"Yes. When we shot the movie and my father's question came up, it was like scratching a wound that I did not know existed. Tomer took it there and in the end everything was buried there. Do you think I'm oppressing it?"

Do not you

"I believe that after I took Tomer into my story after I showed him pictures of the incident with the German woman, it just came into my mind. Only then did I see it through an adult's eyes. Until then I told a story like it was a fun experience and everything I cared about was a thong I bought then. "

You told me a story where it was a fun event, but in reality was it something painful?

"Yes, I start thinking about it. I know you can expect it, but I do not hate my dad. I love him alike. I do not feel traumatized by it, I'm not angry because it ended well and I'm not a misery whose life collapsed. I'm not a pessimist. I'm immune, things are over me. "

There is a heartbreaking moment where you look like someone who understands that he has been tricked, that his father cheated him.

"It ended with a cold break. The hug I give him without looking at him again, it was over. A year later, I returned to Berlin, we met and that was okay. My problem with him, with Raviv, is not how He was like a father, but he did not help me to live when I was in Berlin. He was able to fix our entire story, and it did not happen. I'm angry about it more than the sexual harassment I experienced when I was 11 or 12. "


Adi Reis

There is also the story of the gay community and what the film says about it, and the answers, hard sometimes, people have after watching the movie. What is depicted is a culture of clubs and drugs, six, for cash or without any restrictions. The reflection that the film faces in society is not a picture of a normative society among people working in high tech twins born through surrogate.

"I would not like to generalize," says Agassi, highlighting another cigarette. "I do not think the movie says anything about gay people, just about certain parts of this community. Maybe big segments. It's a society that makes drugs, the parties, it's deep in six. We are a community of men, it's a part of it. I hope I do not describe it too dark, I do not want society to be displayed in this way. "

You said that you at age 15 or 16 were already buying six for cash.

"At the age of 15, I opened a profile on a gays dating site, and I began to get offers. When you are aged, you obviously get offers from older men who offer you support. All my friends were offered money at a young age, I I do not think I was special. As soon as I entered the HBT community, I started getting six-money offers. Homosexuals measure you and judge if you are young if you are good if you have a big penis. something that the community is based on. I worry that people will think I confuse society, but it's a big part of what it looks like, a lot of drugs and sex, a thin line of sexual freedom and abandon. It's a world handled by men. "

Gender as power

It is somewhat complicated and heartbreaking in the honesty that Agassi expresses itself for. He laughs and tends to minimize the impact of his lost decade. He is charismatic and cute in a way that makes it difficult to get him to reality. He will reject descriptions of himself as a victim of the sex industry, even though he fits the prototype. It is embarrassing in his attitude towards sex and relationships (in a wrinkled scene in the film, he explains that he does not need any partner or love, because he can ask his clients to hug him at night) and in his lust for the first time this year to have a relationship. At the end of our conversation, he says that the last year was the least sexual he had. "I turned from someone whose life was constantly angry with someone who did not give it the central role it used to have. My life was angry around the sex. I got crazy at home and searched for it. But in the past year I only had six two times. I try to make it more human. "

Gender for you was like your superpower for a long time. It was where you were confident and confident, with your body and penis, the imaginations, you were convinced that you had something to give.

"It was so. I do not think it's so today. I do not think sex is what I can give it's my strong suit." I have not yet found what I am. I do not know what I can give the world I'm still looking for. I really want the film to take educational work so that society changes its strategy to drugs. I want to know that I have experience and wisdom to do it and what happened to me is what I can give The world I used to give my body without thinking about my soul. Now I'm no longer there and I like what I can trust. I'm sure I'll find it. I'm in a good place now. put the puzzle together for me. There are many things I did not remember. If I could have analyzed them as they happened, I might not have come out of it. "

And what would you like to happen to you?

"I really want children, but feel I'm moving away from it because it's a long and difficult process, economically difficult. I'm not so optimistic about it. I'll try to find myself in the near future. I'm working on a kiosk , but it's not forever. Now everything is temporary and I do not know which way to go. Maybe I'll come back to makeup and hairdresser. I'm looking for myself, but mentally I'm calm. I was always very impulsive – I would do what struck me. I think it's gone. I'm trying to plan ahead and do things more wisely. "


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