Eyes Wide Open
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Eyes Wide Open

Israel, 2009, 91 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: France, Germany
Genre/Subjects: Coming Out, Drama, Gay, Jewish, Religion / Spirituality
Program: World Cinema
Language: Hebrew

DIRECTOR: Haim Tabakman

Originally premiering at Cannes, Eyes Wide Open is a taut tale of forbidden love. Equal parts first-rate independent art cinema and fascinating anthropological study of a tightly-knit conservative community, the film sparks against the backdrop of an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem.

Aaron runs a kosher butcher’s shop. When he hires Ezri (Israeli heartthrob Ron Danker), he is confronted by feelings he thought he dispensed with long ago. Steeped in the codes of religion, each interaction between Aaron and Ezri is rife with underlying tension. From its first frames, Eyes Wide Open establishes an array of impassioned emotions and a slow burn of unspoken eroticism that satisfyingly smolders throughout.

With a surprising economy of means, director Haim Tabakman manages to communicate the intense stakes for the two men. The paranoiac community is insular, where one’s status is always scrutinized, “purity police” pay visits, and contradiction and vice continuously threaten one’s very soul.

The beautifully measured film at surface matches the necessarily sober, reserved demeanor of the film’s characters. And, equally so, just a thin layer below resides a burning ring of anxiety that haunts every interaction. — SEAN UYEHARA

Text Voting Code: F121

Copresented by

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and LGBT Alliance, Jewish Community Federation


Consulate General of Israel Pacific Northwest, Israel Center & LGBT Alliance of the Jewish Community Federation

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