The article examines the trope of the crying male in contemporary Israeli fiction films as it appears near the end of the 2004 feature film Walk on Water, written by Gal Uchovsky and directed by Eytan Fox. It suggests, employing various accounts of crying, melodrama, and performative speech, that the surge of weeping men in recent Israeli films–men who discuss their inability to cry or to stop crying, who parade their tears–might be read as an attempt by Israeli mainstream entertainment to deal with Israeli society's infatuation with victimhood and its tendency to conflate identity with suffering. Walk on Water's protagonist, a Mossad assassin, attempts to bask in the suffering of at least three groups as the film unfolds: Israelis as victims of Palestinian terror, Jews as victims of the Nazis, and queers as victims of homophobia. None of these moments, however, make him cry. Rather, the crying is incongruous with his search for suffering within a group, and he only cries at the end of the film after the search has failed. Many critics deemed the film, particularly its ending, sentimental, arbitrary, clichéd, irrational, and perhaps immoral. This article argues that Walk on Water could alternatively be understood as an effort to reject the Israeli passion for victimhood, instead calling for new means of constructing identities.
Skip Nav Destination
Boaz Hagin; Male Weeping as Performative: The Crying Mossad Assassin in Walk on Water. Camera Obscura 1 September 2008; 23 (2 (68)): 103–139. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/02705346-2008-004
Download citation file: