In the past few years, the Oscar nominees in the shorts categories have been really good…this year will be no exception based on the films that made the shortlist. Writer/director Tomer Shushan‘s latest short “White Eye,” one such film, tells the story of a stolen bike that spirals out of control. (Just based on this one short, I’m really excited to see where Shushan’s career goes). Coming in at an easy 20 minutes, the story seems so simple but has such an inherent complexity to it — it is not a black and white situation. Taking place in Israel, the short touches on universal topics that most countries are grappling with today, such as immigration, deportation, stereotypes and racism.
Based on a real life incident involving the director (but ending on a much lighter note), the story really sticks with you and shows the need for more human compassion and understanding in today’s society. One small act can change a person’s life and we must realize that the decision that we make often times can have life-altering effects on someone else. This was a true “slice of life” story that makes an impact. You can see yourself in the main character and there is no “bad guy” in this story — but it really highlights the “blindness” of perspective (hence the title “White Eye”). “Being right” isn’t always right.
The cinematography (Saar Mizrahi) was amazing. The film was done in one shot so that it feels like everything is happening in real time — its like we are really seeing everything through the main character’s eyes (Daniel Gad). Between the vibrant visuals, the acting and the dialogue, there is a real poetic tension in the film. There is no music/soundtrack, just ambient street noises so it feels all the more immersive. On top of that, Gad’s acting was so raw and real and the fact that Shushan used a real refugee/non-actor (Dawit Tekelaeb) to give voice to the immigrant lead just made the short all the more authentic and drove home the perspective of feeling “illegal” in life. In the end, the film really challenged the way that I operate in the world — going forward, we have to be aware of our privilege and really think before we act. “White Eye” is a film that we all could stand to watch and learn something from.