After a lukewarm marriage of over twenty years, a woman appeals to her husband's compassion to obtain the desirable divorce document in front of a court, which proves to be more challenging than she would expect.
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In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimize a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power than the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane's determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request. Written by
Vivian wears only one big ring on her forth finger of her left hand throughout most of the movie. Somewhere in the middle of the movie, Vivian is shown sitting at the bench in the "court" and there is also a second ring on her second finger. See more »
Why are you making me run around in circles? Why, Your Honor? Why? Why have I come in and out for years now and nothing's changed? Why? You can't force him to divorce nor to appear, and you can't this or that, and what about me? When will you see me? When I'm too exhausted to stand before you? When? If it were up to you, it could go on for 10 years. I could drop dead in front of you and all you'd see was him! But nobody is above the law. There's a God and there's justice and He'll judge you as ...
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Israeli actress, screenwriter and director Ronit Elkabetz and Israeli screenwriter and director Shlomi Elkabetz's feature film which they wrote, is inspired by the life of their mother and the third part of a trilogy which was preceded by "To Take a Wife" (2004) and "7 Days" (2008). It premiered in the 46th Directors' Fortnight section at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival in 2014, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, was shot on locations in Israel and is an Israel-France co-production which was produced by producers Sandrine Bauer, Marie Masmonteil and Shlomi Elkabetz. It tells the story about an Israeli wife, experienced hairdresser and mother of four named Viviane whom has been living with her sister, her brother named Emil Amzaleg and his wife named Rachel since she left her husband of many years named Elisha Amsalem whom she got engaged with as a fifteen-year-old.
Distinctly and precisely directed by Israeli filmmakers Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the protagonist's point of view, draws an immediately involving, thought-provoking and unprejudiced portrayal of an Israeli citizen constrained within the confines of a marriage she walked out of three years ago and no longer wishes to be restricted to, and her prolonged hearing before a rabbinical court called Beth din which is the only institution in Israel which can grant her a divorce, with the assistance of a renowned attorney named Carmel Ben Tovim. While notable for its interior milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by cinematographer Jeanne Lapoirie, production design by production designer Ehud Gutterman and costume design by costume designer Li Alembic, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story about divorce laws in a country and republic of ingrained traditions which, as long as both parts have honored the agreement, makes the person requesting to end the pact plead for the other person's consent which he or she is not obliged to give, and a judicial system which practices laws that makes it possible for people to become chained and dictates their dignity and personal choices which are not influenced but veraciously autonomous, depicts a dense study of character and contains a great and timely score by composers Dikla and Shaul Besser.
This thematically concise, ironically humorous and compromising narrative feature which is set in Israel in the 21st century and where a Jewish father and mother becomes defendant and plaintiff, he keeps on ignoring her wish for separation, she keeps on fighting against a power their matrimony has given him and the judge of their trial clarifies that he can't force her to return home to him and she can't force him to grant her an annulment, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development, rhythmic continuity, cinematographic precision, dynamic interplay, emasculating for both and scrutinizing interrogations, scene where the main character's sister-in-law takes the stand, comment by the judge: "Know your place woman!" and answer by Viviane: "I know my place. Your Honor." the diversely personified acting performance by Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz and the reverently understated acting performance by French actor Simon Abkarian. A majestically theatrical, concentrated and heartfelt character piece.
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