Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
A film by Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz
2014 / Israel/ 115 minutes
5.45 pm / 10th April / Perks Mini Theater
“Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” is the story of a woman wronged by men and God, if finally, in a sense, redeemed by cinema. Gett is the Hebrew word for a legal divorce document in Jewish law. This is the ordeal of a woman’s attempt to divorce her husband under the strict religious laws of Israel. There’s no such thing as civil divorce in Israel, where, even today, the termination of a marriage cannot be granted — or even enforced, regardless of grounds — without the husband’s consent.
Shot entirely in the limited space of a courtroom and using uniquely subjective visual aesthetic, “Gett, The Trial of Viviane Amsalem” is Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s third feature film as a directing team. Ronit Elkabetz also stars in the film as Viviane, a character they developed based on their mother’s life.
Viviane — brought to powerful life by Ronit Elkabetz with currents of humility and hauteur — is at once a fleshed-out character, a political metaphor, a shout to heaven and earth. Despite a part requiring long periods of silence, her character’s emotions are as visible — and as changeable — as clouds passing in the sky.
The film depicts the last two years of struggle during which the adamant three-rabbi court tries every means to convince her to remake the couple. The action takes place almost entirely in two rooms, a Jerusalem Bet Din (Rabbinical Court) and its waiting room. Despite the seemingly uncinematic nature of this inert, even claustrophobic scenario, the film mesmerizes, utterly. It’s at once a feminist film, obviously, and a larger story about diminishing the ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) authority and influence in Israeli life.
Ronit Elkabetz & Shlomi Elkabetz
Israeli film makers sister-brother duo Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz have made three films together.
Ronit Elkabetz actress / film maker was the oldest of four children, with three younger siblings who were all brothers. Her younger brother Shlomi, became a director whom she worked with on their trilogy on the life of Viviane Amsalem.Her acting career started in 1991. n May 2010, Ronit Elkabetz received the France Culture award at the Cannes Film Festival, a prize awarded to filmmakers for quality work and social involvement. The judges described her as a "woman teeming with passion and erotica, who can even play the queen of Egypt
Shlomi Elkabetz was born in 1972 in Be'er Sheva,Israel. After completing his military service, he decided he wanted to work in film. He traveled in the Far East and went on to New York, where he remained for seven years. He wrote prose and plays, and also acted; at a certain stage he and Ronit began to write the screenplay for "To Take a Wife," incorporating into it autobiographical elements. In 2000 he returned to Israel. The film, which came out five years later, won various prizes, including the Audience Award at the Venice Film Festival.