Archive of films Eyes Wide Open / Einaym pkuhot

Israel / France / Germany
2009, 91 min

Section: Open Eyes
Year: 2009

Happily married butcher Aaron one day falls head over heels in love with his male assistant, thereby breaking all the rules which have governed his life up until now. A remarkable film by debuting director Haim Tabakman, screened this year in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes IFF, which examines one of the great taboos of the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.


The film is set in Jerusalem, in a tightly knit community of ultra-orthodox Jews. Aaron runs a successful kosher butcher’s shop and is happily married to Rivka; they have four children. He can’t manage on his own in the shop, so he puts up a notice that he’s looking for an assistant. Before long, good-looking student Ezri turns up on his doorstep with an offer to take up the job, even though he knows nothing about the butcher’s trade. Ezri is perhaps too beautiful and too refined for the world of strict rules which Aaron, completely under the young man’s spell, irrevocably breaks one day when he falls head over heels in love… The director states that the main tragedy of the story, which isn’t based on real events but could happen anytime and anywhere, is the fact that religious people do not consider homosexuality a sin; it just doesn’t exist. "How can you deal with something if it is written that it does not exist? In the Talmud, it is written that the Sons of Israel are not even suspected of doing that […] The title of the film is a reference to the "eyes” of the community which follow our every move, the eyes of God, but not only that. For me, the film is more about accepting faith, your own being.”

About the director

Haim Tabakman (b. 1975) studied film and television at the University of Tel Aviv. His debut, the short film Free Loaders, was screened in 2003 in the prestigious Cannes section Cinéfondation, devoted to student films, and then also at the festivals in Karlovy Vary and Montpellier. He was selected again for Cinéfondation a year later with the 10-minute film The Poet’s Home. Tabakman also works as a cinematographer (the documentary Collaborators, 2004) and editor (Year Zero Diaries, 2006, also the TV series "Weekly Bible”). As editor, he was involved in the remarkable film by David Volach set in the orthodox Jewish community My Father, My Lord. Tabakman’s feature debut Eyes Wide Open, screened in the section Un Certain Regard, was the only Israeli representative selected for the main programme at this year’s Cannes IFF.


5 rue Nicolas Flamel, 75004, Paris
Tel: +33 153 103 399
Fax: +33 153 103 398
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Open Eyes
Director: Haim Tabakman
Screenplay: Merav Doster
Dir. of Photography: Axel Schneppat
Music: Nathaniel Mechaly
Editor: Dov Steuer
Producer: Rafael Katz, Michael Eckelt, Isabelle Attal, David C. Barrot
Production: Pimpa Productions
Cast: Zohar Strauss, Ran Danker, Ravit Rozen
Contact: Playtime


Haim Tabakman

Film Director, Film Director


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