Eyes Wide Open (2009)
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.
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.
- Homosexuality in the Orthodox community is the subject of a very dark and disturbing Israeli film, Eyes Wide Open (Einaym Pkuhot) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Aaron Fleishman (Zohar Shtrauss) is a father of 4 who takes over the family kosher butcher shop following the death of his father. Aarons observant world is turned upside down with the arrival of a young Yeshiva student Ezri (Ran Danker). When Aaron and Ezri begin spending time together, Aaron is quickly ostracized within the Orthodox community. Confronted by Rabbi Vaisben (Tzahi Grad), Aaron declares he was dead before meeting Ezri. We see how quickly social control turns violent and ugly in the Orthodox community when Ezri is forced to leave. Eyes Wide Open is set during a dark and wet winter in Jerusalem. Rain and the darkness of night are used as metaphors for the ritual of cleansing and the omnipresent pressure to conform in the Orthodox community. It has a strong cast and delivers a powerful message in a country divided by debates about the growing influence of the Orthodox Jewish community.