Eyes Wide Open - Guild Cinema, 3405 Central NE
Haim Tabakman 2009
91 min | Feature
Originally premiering at Cannes, EYES WIDE OPEN is a taut tale of forbidden love. Set in the exotic, insular world of the ultra-Orthodox Jews in the ancient city of Jerusalem, EYES WIDE OPEN is a story that explores the conflict of queer sexual desire and religious obligation. The film is Haim Tabakman’s directorial debut and is being hailed around the world as Israel’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.
Aaron (Zohar Schtrauss) is a married father of four children who lives life as a righteous Jewish man. Having recently inherited a kosher butcher shop from his deceased father, Aaron puts out a sign in the window for help wanted. One night, during a downpour, Ezri enters. Ezri (the hunky, gorgeous Ran Danker) is a 22-year-old rabbinical student looking for a job and a place to live. Hesitantly at first, but eventually with great passion, the atmosphere between Aaron and Ezri transforms with mutual erotic desire.
This film explores with artistic discipline the forbidden passions of homosexuality and the rejection of those desires by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. This is a world that Aaron has embraced his entire life and must now face its condemnation. Both men face social and religious ostracism, as well as the specter of violence from the religious vigilantism that zealously guards the inhabitants of this ancient world. EYES WIDE OPEN is a brilliant film exploring the queer cosmos of intense and hidden feelings. — Jay Holloway