Eyes wide open

Eyes wide open

Streaming Video - 2010 | Hebrew
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Aaron, a butcher and devout family man in Jerusalem's ultraorthodox Jewish community, has his quiet existence interrupted one day when Erzi, a handsome, young Yeshiva student, happens on his shop. Intrigued by the young man, Aaron offers Erzi a job and over time becomes his friend and mentor. The two men, working side by side, grow closer, and soon other feelings surface. As their forbidden desire for each other grows, Aaron begins to neglect his business and his family. But guilt, torment and pressure from the community lead him to make a radical decision.
Publisher: [United States] : First Run Films : Made available through hoopla, 2010.
Branch Call Number: eVideo hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 video file (ca. 90 min.)) : sd., col.
Restrictions on Access: Digital content provided by hoopla.


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Dec 12, 2017

Haim Tabakman’s sharply observed version of "Brokeback Menschen" follows a gay love affair in Jerusalem’s orthodox Jewish community from its first hesitant embrace to its painfully realistic conclusion. One can forgive Tabakman’s few lapses into melodramatic excess when you consider the setting of his film; this is not the wide open plains of Montana but a crowded warren of ultra-orthodox believers who make it their business to know everyone else’s business. It’s a place where absolute conformity is the rule and bigotry often hides behind Talmudic verse. Aaron’s plight is beautifully mirrored in a subplot involving a young woman forced to give up the man she loves in order to marry the man chosen by her father; both are casualties of unchallengeable laws which stress blind obedience while ignoring the individual. His wife is also a victim in her own right, and her wonderfully muted portrayal provides a sympathetic counterpoint to Aaron’s personal anguish. Finally, the hushed melancholy of the movie’s final scene, filmed in twilit shades of grey and blue, beautifully illustrates the power of religious dogma to shackle the spirit even as it claims to liberate. Powerfully done.

Jan 02, 2016

I am a gay man, and maybe the men aren't exactly heroic, they're just reacting to a heterosexualized and homophobic society. They have a pure, romantic love that involves frottage/frot/genital rubbing (instead of anal). The problem is their society doesn't allow them to be bisexual or whatever they choose to be. Either their society should allow them to stay true to themselves from the beginning, and if they have strong same-sex feelings yet still want to have children the old-fashioned way, then maybe the man can get married to a woman who is as same-sex oriented or bisexual as he is. In addition, by practicing frot/frottage/genital rubbing instead of anal (and by practicing gender monogamy) they have very little chance of getting infected with or transmitting a disease.

The other option would be for the man to be honest with his wife later on, which is what could’ve happened in this movie. Then perhaps they could’ve divorced. And he could’ve moved with his lover to a more liberal part of the city or the country or whatever. I have nothing against the wife, but just because she’s meek and submissive doesn’t make her anymore a hero than Karenin is in the novel ‘Anna Karenina’ . If a woman cheats on her husband with another woman, no one makes a big deal in most Western societies, etc. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be any more shame for a man to cheat on his wife with another man then there should be for a woman to cheat on her husband with another woman. As long as the husband isn’t doing anal (which is the riskiest act) and isn’t being promiscuous, what’s the big deal?

Ideally, people should be honest with each other from the beginning, yet society doesn’t always make that easy. Maybe the movie’s protagonist only just recently discovered his Man2Man feelings. And true love isn’t just about commitment and duty; it’s also about honesty, respect, and remaining true to one’s self, ideals, principles, etc. The protagonist exeriences a physical, psychological, and spiritual awakening which is denied by his environment, community, and society. (As long as the religious and secularists alike continue to resort to conventional/orthodox morality as crutches, this is what happens.) What men like him need is a community or society that supports and nurtures strong, masculine, healthy, and monogamous Man2Man relationships (alongside Man2Woman relationships if they desire those too).

And society always blames the men (just like Adam and Eve were blamed for partaking of the forbidden apple). Guess what, a spiritual awakening doesn’t always involve clear-cut ethical and moral rules and borders. It’s messy, and that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes one has to rebel against the parents and authorities and society in order to arrive at a greater truth. Otherwise we’d all just be fascists and rednecks if we never questioned anything and accepted everything (our respective societies and subcultures tell us) in blind faith.

Nevertheless, there are some rules that are essentially immutable and universal. Both Judaism and Islam (and their holy books) suggest that anal is a dangerous sin, and that Man2Man love and sex (e.g. frot/frottage/genital rubbing) is separate and distinct from that as demonstrated by the beautiful Man2Man love and relationship between David and Jonathan.

Oct 14, 2012

I am a gay man, and I feel that the men in this movie are selfish, weak, and immature. The hero of this movie is the loving, attentive, and forgiving wife. She is the one who holds her family together and shelters her children, while bearing the indignity of being married to a man who brings shame upon her by being publicly indecent and unfaithful to his marraige. The husband is a hypocrite who goes with his male lover to pray and study about God, while failing to honor the commitment he has made to his wife in front of God and the community. He commits adultery against his wife, while he chastises a single man for being with the single woman whom he loves. This movie highlights how gay men hurt women and society (especially the children) when they enter into straight marraiges where the men eventually lose the will to honor and respect their wives. True love is about honoring the commitments you have made. Honoring commitments in the difficult times is what builds mutual trust and creates a new experience of love on a deeper level.

Jan 22, 2012

A brilliant movie with wonderful acting. The film draws you in from the start. Your attention is captivated right up until to the end.

Highly recommended.


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