A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
An Iranian man deserts his French wife and her two children to return to his homeland. Meanwhile, his wife starts up a new relationship, a reality her husband confronts upon his wife's request for a divorce.
At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
A devout 18-year-old Israeli is pressured to marry the husband of her late sister. Declaring her independence is not an option in Tel Aviv's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community, where religious law, tradition and the rabbi's word are absolute. Written by
Sundance Film Festival
Israel's official entry to the Oscars this year is probably too minimalistic and low-key to make it to the final five, but it's a film well worth watching and is in fact one of the best films I've seen so far emerge from the growing Israeli cinema. Fill the Void is of particular interest to Israeli viewers because it's a rare window into the very closed-community lifestyle of the Orthodox Jews, giving very rare insight as the film was made by an Orthodox director but with a secular audience in mind, which is something never seen before. For foreign viewers too, it may be a fascinating glimpse into an anachronistic, static religious community that hardly ever opens itself up like this to the general public.
Cinematically, Fill the Void is startlingly minimalistic; the story is a very brief glimpse into a very simple lifestyle. The gorgeous cinematography compliments that, constantly focusing on the contrast between Hadas Yaron's white face, the black clothing and the gray-brown backgrounds, but with a soft focus that makes it very easy to get lost inside. The cinematography itself is so aesthetic that it often conceals just how simple the story and the characters are - the film revolves around one moral question without giving too much insight into the thought processes of any of the characters. Its real achievement however is in enabling the viewer to be immersed in the environment and the lifestyle of a culture so different from what we're used to, and in that sense it's a triumph.
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