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||IMDB Rating: 7.3/10 from 12 votes
||Release: 4 March 2010 (Netherlands) /
||Genre: Drama, Romance
||Director: Merav Doster,
||Stars: Avi Grainik, Bar Kalfin, Eva Zrihen-Attali, Haim Zanati, Iftach Ophir, Isaac Sharry, Lidor Daudi, Mati Atlas, Ran Danker, Royi Zolicha, Safrira Zachai, Tal Barak, Tinkerbell, Tzahi Grad, Zohar Shtrauss
||Synopsis: Aaron (Zohar Shtrauss), a respected butcher and a family man in an Ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem, leads a conservative life of community devotion and spiritual dedication. Aaron's life undergoes a series of emotional changes following the arrival of a young apprentice (Ran Danker) to his shop. Consumed with lust, the handsome "Yeshiva" student irreversibly transforms the intricate beliefs in the once-devoted butcher's life - leading Aaron to question his relationships with his wife Rivka (Tinkerbell), children, community, and God. Written by kirstein-1 / edited by TrivWhiz
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Watch Eyes Wide Open - Alternative Versions.
What happens if you're a married man with children in an ultra-orthodox
Jewish community in Jerusalem and you fall in love and lust with a
beautiful young man? Couples counseling? A divorce and a move to San
Francisco with your lover? No. Something much more dire, as we learn
from this simple, powerful first film in Hebrew by Haim Tabakman.
You get a brief period of happiness. Aaron (Zohar Shtrauss) in fact
tells his rabbi that he was dead before, and now he feels alive. A
beautiful 22-year-old orthodox man named Ezri, (Israeli hearthrob Ran
Danker) turns up during a heavy rainstorm at Aaron's butcher shop just
after he's reopened it following his father's death. Aaron probably
realizes the minute he sees Ezri that he is a temptation. But he
subscribes to the belief that the man who lives successfully close to
temptation earns greater favor with God. He's come to see life as
testing, not joy.
Without much pushing, Aaron takes in Ezri, who's from somewhere else
and seems to be a Yeshiva student in search of a Yeshiva, appears (to
the viewer, anyway) to have arrived to look up a former boyfriend --
does Ezri represent fresh blood in the ultra-orthodox world? -- and
needs a job and a place to stay. Ezri smiles; Aaron never does. Aaron's
scenes with his wife Rivvka (Tinkerbell) are dutiful, affectionate, and
incredibly dull. He pushes Ezri away at first, but as Ezri becomes a
part of his life, learning how to do the work of a butcher, his
attraction becomes stronger. After a number of physical contacts and a
trip to the country to immerse themselves together in a lake, it's
Aaron who comes after Ezri, wordlessly, after they've loaded a big
animal carcass into the cooler. Tabakman and the writer Merav Doster
create a world in which you know exactly what people are thinking when
they only stare at each other. The values and the desire to override
them are equally clear.
The way Aaron's community deals with misbehavior is illustrated by a
women who works nearby, who continues seeing a man she loves even
though her father has promised her to someone else. Aaron is called
upon to go with a group to threaten the man and the woman. Aaron warns
them that if the matter fell into the hands of the "purity police"
they'd be roughed up and the flat would be turned upside down.
The beauty and the melancholy of Eyes Wide Open is that it doesn't
glorify either gay experience or orthodox Jewish life and yet it coolly
shows the beauties of both. You can see the closeness and security of
the life, the simple joys of celebratory meals (at Aaron's house, where
Ezri is invited for them), of joining hands and singing there or in
Talmud class, where the men chant and bang on the table. Aaron's
physical pleasures with Ezri are equally simple, and intense, with a
passion lacking in his ritual under-the-sheets couplings with Rivvka.
Soon Aaron is missing appointments at home -- and not caring; closing
the shop for no reason. There are no secrets in this community, and
someone knows where Ezri comes from. He's a bad man, someone reports.
"He was sent away from his Yeshiva. He did too many mitzvahs." Someone
sees something. Threatening voices in the alleyway and the pashkavils
(orthodox posters used as mass communication) begin declaring "there is
a bad man in our community."
The film, with its simplicity, its drab realistic settings and its
leisurely, Rossellini-like pace, achieves a kind of quiet perfection
and memorableness despite subtitles that are occasionally out of sync
and an obtrusively ominous electronic sound track. The material is
explosive, and the filmmakers and the actors have known well enough not
to mess with it too much.
The film, whose Hebrew title is 'Einaym Pkuhot,' premiered in May 2009
at the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard series. Screened at
Cinema Village in NYC February 16, 2010, where it opened February 5.
Tags for Eyes Wide Open Full Movie
, Bar Kalfin
, Eva Zrihen-Attali
, Haim Zanati
, Iftach Ophir
, Isaac Sharry
, Lidor Daudi
, Mati Atlas
, Ran Danker
, Royi Zolicha
, Safrira Zachai
, Tal Barak
, Tzahi Grad
, Zohar Shtrauss
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