Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

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2015 | 115 minutes | Rated NR

In Israel, a divorce is known as a gett, and Viviane Amsalem (codirector Ronit Elkabetz, a striking woman with an imposing gaze) wants one. For three years, she has lived with her brother and his wife while trying to extract herself from her marriage to Elisha (French actor Simon Abkarian). Viviane continues to look after their youngest son, but she has no intention of returning to her husband. Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz's film, the third in a trilogy, takes place in the courthouse where the parties and their advocates make their cases. Since there's been no infidelity or abuse, the rabbinical court rules against Viviane at the first hearing. There will be many more. Sometimes Elisha shows up, sometimes he doesn't, but Viviane's advocate, Carmel (Menashe Noy), is a steadfast ally. If the judges have little patience for the passive-aggressive Elisha, the system is rigged against Viviane. Even her sister, a witness, admits, "A divorced woman in Israel eats shit." Other witnesses testify, exposing the flaws in their own marriages, before the judges issue their ruling. If the Elkabetz siblings take orthodox marriage laws to task, the look (no master shots) and tone (austere) feels more Scandinavian in the vein of Carl Theodor Dreyer, a great champion of women, like Viviane, who held their own against religious hypocrisy.

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Film Credits
Director
Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz
Cast
Ronit Elkabetz, Menashe Noy, Simon Abkarian, Gabi Amrani, Dalia Beger, Shmil Ben-Ari, Abraham Celektar, Rami Danon