“We’re both human,” Yunes tells Omer as their disagreement becomes more dire in Tomer Shushan’s sensational short film, White Eye. The film is shortlisted for this year’s Live Action Short Oscar.
Omer (Daniel Gad) spots his stolen bicycle locked up outside the back door of a factory. He tries to call the police, but they tell him that they can’t find his report of it being stolen. He takes matters into his own hands. Despite this seeming like a simple act of taking back what he feels is rightfully his, Omer doesn’t have the foresight that he might be affecting someone else’s life.
The bike’s new owner is Yunes, a factory worker who admits to Omer that he bought the bike from someone at a bus stop. Does Omer still technically own the bike or does it now have a new owner? Omer is so driven to right something so trivial–he’s almost like a man possessed. Gad brings a quiet determination that you wonder if he is too far from reasoning and Dawit Tekelaeb, as Yunes, is desperate but aware to not bring attention to himself in his fear of the police.
Shushan expertly tightens the pace of this 20-minute short that it feels as if we are swirling around on a bicycle ourselves. He never cuts his camera and he has a confidence in his actors to tell this story. As more characters get introduced, he never breaks away from the action, and it’s so impressive. It feels as if we are a witness to the entire ordeal, a friend rendered silent by Omer’s cause. We get close to the police when they return and we stand a safe distance from Omer in other moments as if we can’t believe what he is doing.
White Eye is a confident, slyly emotional film. You will get caught up and wish you could change any outcome. It’s riveting.