Eyes Wide Open (2009 film)

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Eyes Wide Open
Eyes wide open.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Haim Tabakman
Produced by Raphael Katz
Written by Merav Doster
Starring Ran Danker
Zohar Strauss
Music by Nathaniel Mechaly
Cinematography Axel Schneppat
Edited by Dov Steuer
Distributed by Peccadillo Pictures
Release date(s)
  • May 20, 2009 (2009-05-20) (Cannes)
  • September 3, 2009 (2009-09-03) (Israel)
Running time 91 minutes
Country Israel
Language Hebrew

Eyes Wide Open (Hebrew: עיניים פקוחות‎, translit. Einayim Pkuhot) is a 2009 Israeli film. This script was written by the Israeli script-writer Merav Doster. It is the first film of the Israeli film director Haim Tabakman. The film was released in the UK on May 14, 2009 by Peccadillo Pictures[1] The film was co-produced in Israel, France and Germany.

Plot[edit]

Aaron, a married Orthodox Jewish father of four living in Jerusalem, takes over his family’s butcher shop after the recent death of his father. Ezri, a nineteen-year-old homeless Yeshiva student, visits the shop to use the telephone. After turning down Ezri's offer to help around the shop, he later finds Ezri asleep in the local synagogue and offers him space to stay at the shop. Aaron takes Ezri on as an apprentice and encourages his religious studies and his talent for drawing.

The two men become close after Ezri invites Aaron to take a ritual bath in the outskirts of the city. Rivka, Aaron’s devoted wife, initially welcomes her husband’s apprentice into their family circle. One evening after Aaron asks Ezri to draw his portrait, Ezri makes a sexual advance, which Aaron rebuffs. Later, however they kiss and begin a sexual relationship. Rivka becomes suspicious when her husband begins to arrive late at home. Rabbi Vaisben, a family friend, warns Aaron against associating too closely with Ezri, reporting that he was expelled from his local yeshiva, but Aaron defends him. Rivka, increasingly concerned, sees them leaving the shop together late at night. Being a devout religious man, living in a Haredi community, Aaron is torn between his family and devotion to God, and the intense feelings he has for Ezri .[2][3]

Aaron is repeatedly told that Ezri is a bad influence and perhaps even cursed; local people start warning Ezri to stay away from them. Flyers begin to circulate in the neighborhood, prompting many to boycott the butcher's shop. Under increasing social, commercial and family pressure, Aaron tries to break off ties with Ezri but is unable to bring himself to do so. Confronted by Rabbi Vaiseben, Aaron is unabashed, feeling alive only now. Ezri encounters his former lover on the streets of their neighborhood, which escalates into Ezri being attacked by some locals. Aaron witnesses the attack but does not intervene. He consoles Ezri afterwards, but they both realize it is time for Ezri to leave the community. Aaron continues to be distressed by this, asking for Rivka's understanding and protection. He returns early one morning to the spot where he took a bath with Ezri. He submerges himself beneath the water for a prolonged period before the camera fades to black.

Cast[edit]

Presentation of the film at Cannes Film Festival 2009
  • Ran Danker as Ezri
  • Zohar Strauss as Aaron
  • Ravit Rozen a.k.a. Tinkerbell as Rivka Fleischman
  • Tzahi Grad as Rabbi Vaisben
  • Avi Grayinik as Israel Fisher
  • Eva Zrihen-Attali as Sara
  • Mati Atlas as Ephraim

Awards[edit]

Eyes Wide Open competed in the official selection of the 2009 Cannes Film Festival in the category "Un Certain Regard".[4]

Best Movie at the International Ghent Film Festival 2009.

Critical reception[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 84% out of 32 professional critics gave the film a positive review, with a rating average of 6.9/10.[5] A. O. Scott from the New York Times wrote in a positive review that the film "moves slowly and patiently through the ordeal of a single soul, illuminating in the process a cosmos of intense and hidden feeling."[6]

References[edit]

External links[edit]