Daniel Gad, Dawit Tekelaeb
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
"White Eye" Screens at 2020 Indy Shorts Film Fest
Winner of the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival, writer/director Tomer Shushan arrives in Indianapolis's Indy Shorts as a finalist with White Eye, a 20-minute dramatic short from Israel about Omar (Daniel Gad), a man who accidentally finds his beloved white bike that had been stolen just a month earlier. As he begins to retrieve it, his attempt involves an encounter that becomes increasingly tense with an Eritrean migrant worker (Dawit Tekelaeb) who swears he'd paid 250 shekels just a week earlier. Determined to see his own justice no matter what, the stakes get higher and Omar begins to question his own humanity amidst questions of privilege and its impact on those without it.
Daniel Gad gives a thoughtful, intuitive performance as Omar, a seemingly good man who merely wants to retrieve what was seemingly truly his. Shushan's intelligent story isn't blinded to Omar's rightness, yet he rather masterfully weaves together that conflicting tension that can exist between the personal and the universal. While Omar appears, at least eventually, to learn some valuable lessons, Shushan doesn't let him off the hook as if to say that sometimes hindsight simply isn't good enough.
We have to make the right choice the first time.
There are political layers at work here and Shushan's quick yet meaningful story digs deeper and goes into the uncomfortable zone. Gad is tremendous here as is Dawit Telekaeb as the migrant worker and the rest of the ensemble cast. This story feels real and it feels truthful and it no doubt plays out every single day around the world including in my own U.S.A. where us vs. them seems to become a wider chasm every single day.
Cinematography by Saar Mizrahi is effective throughout White Eye, while the lens almost invasively follows the psychological layers being peeled away from Omar as he begins to realize more and more the impact of his seemingly simple choices.
Shushan avoids any unnecessary histrionics here. The story's powerful enough. It's simple, beautiful, and absolutely haunting. You'll think about this film long after the closing credits have rolled.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic