Dienstagsfilm – Within this category we would like to recommend one movie a week to you, one movie that we consider special and inspiring, one movie that we think you might enjoy to watch on a cosy evening in front of your DVD player.
This weeks recommmondation comes from Israel – by coincidence or by design – and tells a quiet and tragic love story between two men. Quiet and tragic because they are members of an jewish orthodox community in Israel, a community that is governed by the strict obeyance to jewish orthodox beliefs, traditions, rites and that therefore condems the idea of homosexual love. Haim Tabakman’s movie “Eyes Wide Open” tells the story of the impossible love between these two men in slow and often close-up pictures, his protagonists do not talk a lot, they talk through their acts or non-acts. This storytelling fits the story extremly well, because it is essentially a story of oppression, of oppression of feeling, acting and even communicating in the name of an orthodox belief.
Oppression that is excerted both by the individuals living in this community on themselves and others. The means to keep people in line mostly is social tabooization and stigmatization, starting with sheer ignorance and bad words, ascending to signs that try to deter customers to buy at the corrupt shop and its owner, going further in physical threats and finding their maximum in the shattering of the shop’s windows and a fight in the streets. All this bears a terrible resemblance to another episode in recent jewish history, namely their prosecution during the time of the 3rd Reich. This impression is further underpinned in one of the most unsettling scenes of the movie, where one of the communities youngs discusses with the Rabbi the issue of the purity of their community and the impurity that the two men bring over them.
“Eyes Wide Open” is a dark, unpleasant and apparently necessary statement against blind orthodoxy in a society that may be threatened by the extreme obeyance to the very values that helped to create and sustain it for over 2000 years. It also is a strong reminder that plurality and tolerance are values that are constantly threatened from new angles and therefore their final protection can never be finally achieved.