Eyes Wide Open is a film about the Ultra-Orthodox family father Aaron (Zohar Strauss), who hires the homeless Yeshiva student Ezri (Ran Danker) to work as an apprentice in his butcher's shop. Their friendship develops into an emotional and sexual relationship, but they are being closely watched by their community, and the religious authorities, their fellow believers and the "purity police" will absolutely not tolerate anything of the like.
Ezri, who "scribbles a bit" in his free time, offers to draw Aaron's portrait.
Ezri convinces him to go outside the city for once, to take a ritual bath together in an ice cold pool.
The situation is obviously extremely complicated for Aaron, who has a family and a business to take care of. But as an atheist it's easy to start asking myself why Ezri can't just leave the Ultra-Orthodox community in the Old City and go to secular, tolerant Tel Aviv or something. But for one thing, he is very young; he was only just kicked out of his Yeshiva. And most important of all, this is his community and his religion just as much as everyone else's. He believes in God just as much as everyone else.
About 90 percent of the film was shot in Jaffa, and 10 percent in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem, where the story is set, in quick "hit-and-run" shots without official permission, due to the controversial nature of the film. The end result is still very realistic and recognizable as Mea Shearim.
This is a very subtle film that neither glorifies nor demonizes anybody, told in simple and beautiful images in limestone and pale green.
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... And, of course, Ran Danker (actor, pop singer, model) is so hot that I was in exhilarated spasms every second he was on the screen.
Here are some bonus photos of him ...
He was hairier than this in Eyes Wide Open, so either he went through a second puberty in between, or he probably shaves or crops his chest hair. ;_;
Our mum would tell him to wear his pants properly.