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Eyes Wide Open (2009)
"Einayim Petukhoth" (original title)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 4,125 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 24 user | 82 critic | 7 from Metacritic.com

A married, Orthodox, Jerusalem butcher and Jewish father of four falls in love with his handsome, 22-year-old male apprentice, triggering the suspicions of his wife and the disapproval of his Orthodox community.

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Title: Eyes Wide Open (2009)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Aaron Fleischman (as Zohar Strauss)
...
Tinkerbell ...
Rivka Fleischman
...
Rabbi Vaisben
Isaac Sharry ...
Mordechai
Avi Grainik ...
Israel Fischer (as Avi Grayinik)
Eva Zrihen-Attali ...
Sara
Haim Zanati ...
Ultraourthodox Weirdo (as Haim Znati)
Mati Atlas ...
Ex-boy Friend
Iftach Ophir ...
Head of Yeshiva Student in the Butchery (as Iftach Ofir)
Safrira Zachai ...
Fischer's Mother (as Shafrira Zakai)
Lidor Daudi ...
Yakov
Tal Barak ...
David
Bar Kalfin ...
Shimon
Royi Zolicha ...
Nataniel
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

| |

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

2 September 2009 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Eyes Wide Open  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,818 (USA) (5 February 2010)

Gross:

$30,818 (USA) (5 March 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Rabbi Vaisben: [translated] He who dwells in abstinence is a sinner. A man who prevents himself from drinking wine is a sinner. He makes a sacrifice. Why? God doesn't want a man to suffer. He shouldn't cause himself sorrow. Why has God created the world? To make good for us, to ease our souls.
Aaron Fleischman: Rabbi, this doesn't satisfy me. He who drinks wine doesn't want to deal with the challenge. Worshipping God is an everyday duty. It means loving the difficulties. Being a slave of God means loving the hardship.
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Connections

Featured in Sharon Amrani: Remember His Name (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Collision of religion and sexuality in the Orthodox Jewish world
25 September 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I attended the North American Premiere of "Eyes Wide Open" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. This is a somewhat provocative yet understated examination of what it's like to be gay in the Orthodox Jewish world. In his first feature, director Haim Tabakman, working from a Merav Doster script, introduces us to Aaron (Zohar Shtrauss) and Ezri (Ran Danker). Aaron runs a Kosher butcher shop that's been in the family for generations. Ezri is an outsider, already under suspicion for questionable behavior, who enters Aaron's world with possible intentions beyond purchasing a hunk of meat. There's a joke there but I'll resist. The cultural constraints placed upon gays, or anyone who is different, are painfully drawn out as the neighbors decide what actions to take. The Orthodox Jewish community sends in its own goons (enforcers of God?).

This character-driven film is haunting and poignant. Like many foreign films, natural lighting is predominant. The cinema verité style, without regard to shadows, is much more powerful than images in traditional Hollywood movies -- provided the images aren't too dark -- a problem I've seen here with some films. The score is used sparsely, only to punctuate the more emotional moments. The pace is slow and deliberate, while long takes with little dialogue allow the actors to speak with their eyes, facial movements, and body language.

The collision of religion and sexuality is a common theme at every film festival. What is the meaning of restraint? Are we really being true to God if we destroy ourselves in the process?


38 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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