g The Film Panel Notetaker: Woodstock Film Festival - "Eyes Wide Open" Q&A - Oct. 3, 2009

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Woodstock Film Festival - "Eyes Wide Open" Q&A - Oct. 3, 2009

“Eyes Wide Open”
Q&A with Director Haim Tabakman
Woodstock Film Festival
October 3, 2009

“Eyes Wide Open” is a beautiful and sensitive film set and made in Israel about a ultra-Orthodox man, married with children, who inherits his father’s butcher shop. His life becomes complicated when he meets a drifter, a young man who was kicked out of the Yeshiva, and the two secretly fall in love. The film never judges any of the characters, but shows both sides of how this forbidden and adulterous relationship organically develops, and the consequences they face once rumors begin to spread, ultimately leaving the butcher to make a choice between family/tradition and true love.

Director Haim Tabakman spoke after the screening for a Q&A. When asked if he had any problems getting authorizations to shoot the film within the ultra-Orthodox community, Tabakman said it’s a problem to shoot any kind of movie, not just this one. So much of it was sort of shot guerrilla style. His director of photography had a lot of experience working in documentaries.

Did Tabakman consult with any religious people to get their points of view? He said it was really important for him to be respectful to everyone. His goal was to look for things he knew in his own life and do research. He said it’s interesting to him that everyone has his or her own justifications, and there is no right or wrong.

He was also asked about why the film ended the way it did. I will not spoil the ending of the film here, but will point out that Tabakman said that for the butcher’s character, sexual identification is equal to the way religious life gave him meaning. It is the only way he can make his life meaningful. For the rest, you’ll just have to see the film when it comes your way.

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