Friday, June 14, 2013
Fill the Void - Israeli drama film written and directed by Rama Burshtein. (Sony Picture Classics)
Eighteen-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron) is the youngest daughter of a Hassidic family living in modern-day Tel Aviv. She's excited about the young man chosen for her by The Matchmaker. In the opening scene, Shira and her mother Rivka (Irit Sheleg), with the stealth of deer hunters, track down Shira's intended at the market, to get a look at him. Both mother and daughter approve. But so soon after, events turn tragic when Shira's older sister dies in childbirth. This unexpected loss creates big consequences for Shira's marriage plans, as it's suggested she marry her sister's husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein).
|It is interesting to peek into the window of a religion and community most of us know nothing about, Hasidic Judaism - the prayers peppered throughout everyday exchanges with one another, the customs of arranged marriages, the hairstyles of the men and head wraps of the women, the close family bonds and all the singing. What's not interesting is the handling of the plot. So okay, Yochay is left with a brand new son and no wife. This is grievous. But Shira, her mother and his mother are all there to help raise the child without complaint. Why does he have to have an official mother for the baby right away? So much so that he's willing to go to Belgium for a match. It's this intention that sends Rivka to The Matchmaker to set up things between Shira and Yochay. Of course Shira thinks it's awkward to marry her sister's husband, so newly a widower, but her vacillation is endless. There's no character arc. And although I can appreciate subtle romance, the exchanges between Shira & Yochay left me indifferent.|
I hate feeling this way, because I'm so proud and in awe of Rama Burshtein. This is a woman whose people don't watch films or television. She's didn't even think about becoming anything, let alone a filmmaker until she was in her 40's. She had to step out of her comfort zone and step with faith to first write and then direct this film. So I'm sorry I wasn't more moved, but I am in appreciation.
MSN Movies: It was such a delight to see this film. Every film that I’ve seen that touches on the world of ultra-orthodox Judaism is usually about the conflict between the Old and New Worlds, or religious vs. secular life. I assume it was a very deliberate decision on your part to not deal with that divide in this film.
Rama Burshtein: As a people we are thousands of years old and we exist without that conflict of the secular and the religious. The truth is that most of us do not want to leave our communities. All of those films were always about someone either trying to get out or someone from the outside trying to get in and it was very important for me to say that we also just exist and feel and love and struggle and hurt by ourselves, not always because we’re in conflict. READ MORE
From Tinsel & Tine's vaults another Israeli movie about a family being torn apart by a marriage - Circumstance by Maryam Keshavarz
LAMB Score 2.5 out of 5
Philly Film Blog