Elkana Yonatan Langer is better known by his porn performer name Jonathan Agassi. An Israeli-born adult performer who rose to fame as part of the notorious Lucas Film brand, Jonathan has won numerous awards for his work. This new documentary by Tomer Heymann follows Jonathan over the span of 8 years as he continues to work in porn and side hustles as an escort to make ends meet and support his family.
The title Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is a line that Jonathan utters early on in the documentary, explaining that being that character allowed him to express himself in a way he never could before. It also allows him to separate himself from the deeply trouble Elkana Yonatan Langer, or at least that’s what he initially thinks. Often it’s easy to forget that porn stars are actually human beings with real problems and feelings. Most people see them as an object of lust or a way to gratify themselves, without any consideration of the person behind the enviable muscles, abs and good looks.
What Heymann does with Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is peel back the layers to reveal a performer who appears to be on top of the world but in actuality, he’s struggling to hold everything together. While winning awards for his work in porn, Jonathan is battling behind the scenes over long-held emotional issues related to his absent father. He enjoys a close relationship with his mother, who is aware of his profession, and throughout the documentary she appears to support him or to lend him a shoulder via Skype when he needs it.
Living away in Berlin while his mother is back in Tel Aviv, Jonathan believes he’s doing what he needs to in order to help his mother financially. In reality he uses his work in porn and as an escort as a way of rebelling against a father who never accepted him for who he is. Numbing his pain with drugs, there are times when Jonathan isn’t even aware of his own actions and this culminates in the film’s final moments, which are heartbreaking and difficult to watch.
During the film we do get to see Jonathan interacting with his father and it’s a lot less confrontational than you expect from the build-up. Once he’s with his father, he reverts back to the little boy that sought his approval and he doesn’t really fight his corner. What he does do is report everything back to his mother, and it feels like Jonathan has a need for his pain to be shared by those around him as if that makes it somehow more manageable for him.
Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life definitely reinforces the idea that porn performers are often masking a tragic or difficult background. While this is true for Jonathan, I’m not entirely convinced it’s the case for every person who works in the industry. At times fascinating, at others completely bewildering, Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life is a stark look at a porn star who seemingly has it all but behind closed doors he’s a complete and utter mess. Will the penny finally drop for him? You’ll have to check the documentary out to find out.
Cast: Jonathan Agassi Director: Tomer Heymann Certificate: 18 Duration: 105 mins Released by: Peccadillo Pictures Release date: 18th November 2019 Buy Jonathan Agassi Saved My Life