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Written & Directed by: Tomer Shushan
Cast: Daniel Gad, Dawit Tekelaeb, Reut Akkerman, Amir Busheri, Muhammad Abu-Leil
Synopsis: A man finds his stolen bicycle, but now it belongs to a stranger. How much of himself will he lose to get it back?
How did the idea for White Eye come about?
The story of the film actually happened to me. I was on my way to meet my mentor to finalize a script for a short film I had been working on for a few months. It was the last day to send it to one of the Israeli film foundations. On the way, in the middle of the street, I saw my stolen bicycle. Some aggressive instinct came out of me and I couldn't go away without the bike. Then the whole story like it's presented in the film happened but with a better ending. While I was overwhelmed by the experience, my mentor told me to write it down as a script. So I did. 40 minutes later, the White Eyes script was born and it debuted as a short film a year afterwards.
When you were writing it, did you always visualize it to be shot in one take?
This story is about a person who experiences a stressful and intense moment. Instead of acting from a rational place, he gives in to an egoistic rage. Everything happens to him in a short time without a moment to stop, reconsider, or breathe. I wanted to create the same effect for the audience so they can really feel the main character's situation. Normally, between every take in a film, the viewer has a tiny break to catch their breath. I wanted the camera to connect the viewer and the main character in a never-ending, motion of tension that doesn't give you a break.
Every actor comes into the film on the right level. There is not one flat note. How did you achieve that? How many rehearsals?
Since I only had enough money to shoot the film in one night, I knew that I had to do a lot of rehearsals. On the other hand, I wanted to keep the energy and passion of the actors for the actual filming. I was afraid they would be like robots. So we rehearsed with each actor individually. The rest of the roles were filled by the film's technical team. So I had an initial meeting between all the characters on filming day and also made the camera crew - sound, grip and lighting technicians - learn the exact choreography to produce this story.
The film operates on multitude of levels with the action/story taking place not just in the foreground but in the background as well. How do you put that into a script and then transfer it to the screen?
The film was shot in southern Tel Aviv in an industrial area that transforms during the night into a prostitution center. This dark place presents the general atmosphere of the film and the social issues the film wishes to illuminate. I found the location eight months before we filmed there. This location became my second home. I use to spend 12 hours a day trying to understand the rhythm of this place. I really wanted to create another story in the background. The story of the prostitute in the background is something that caught my eye - the circles of cars as she disappears into one and comes back to the same spot to wait for another one. This simple thing adds a lot to the story that the main character experiences.
What do you want an audience to take away from this film?
I hope that after watching this movie, a viewer will ask himself what he would do in such a situation. Take the time to look at the situation from a different angle and not just from one's own place and ego.