6.7/10
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Lemale et ha'halal (2012)

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When the older sister of Shira, an 18-year-old Hasidic Israeli, dies suddenly in childbirth, Shira must decide if she can and should marry her widowed brother-in-law, which also generates tensions within her extended family.

Director:

Rama Burshtein

Writer:

Rama Burshtein
13 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Hadas Yaron ... Shira
Yiftach Klein ... Yochay
Irit Sheleg ... Rivka
Chayim Sharir Chayim Sharir ... Aharon (as Chaim Sharir)
Razia Israeli Razia Israeli ... Aunt Hanna (as Razia Israely)
Hila Feldman ... Frieda
Renana Raz ... Esther
Yael Tal Yael Tal ... Shifi
Michael Weigel ... Shtreicher (as Michael David Weigl)
Ido Samuel ... Yossi
Neta Moran ... Bilha
Melech Thal Melech Thal ... Rabbi
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Storyline

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

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Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Israel

Language:

Hebrew

Release Date:

18 October 2012 (Israel) See more »

Also Known As:

Fill the Void See more »

Filming Locations:

Tel Aviv, Israel

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$59,164, 26 May 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,774,639, 29 September 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The official submission of Israel to the Best Foreign Language Film for the 85th Academy Awards 2013. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Film '72: Episode dated 11 December 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim
(uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
A heartfelt and intimate look inside a world we never see
2 July 2013 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Israeli director Rama Burshtein's powerfully moving Fill the Void, Israel's submission to the 2012 Oscars, is about love and marriage but, in the Orthodox Hasidic community in Tel Aviv, they do not necessarily go together like a horse and carriage. Hadas Yaron, winner of the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival in her first film role, is eighteen year-old Shira who is very close to being matched and promised to a local young man. When her older sister Esther (Renana Raz) dies in childbirth, however, her husband, the striking-looking Yochay (Yiftak Klein), is left to raise his young son Mordecai by himself and, according to tradition, has a duty to remarry once the formal mourning period is over.

This is where the film's central dilemma comes in and Shira's choice to "do the right thing" is severely tested by conflicting loyalties. After her family celebrates the Jewish holiday Purim, Shira and her mother, Rivka (Irit Sheleg) in a scene with Woody Allen overtones, are sent by the matchmaker to "shop" in the supermarket to find a suitable husband. When the right man is found, arrangements are made, even though Shira does not actually meet the young man until later in the film. When her mother learns that Yochay has a marriage offer from a widow living in Belgium, however, and cannot face the idea of the baby being taken away, she asks the matchmaker Mr. Shtreicher (Michael David Weigl) to arrange for Shira to marry Yochai, who is ten years older.

Fill the Void is a heartfelt and intimate look inside a world few of us ever have contact with. Sensitive to the orthodox community's rituals and traditions, however anachronistic they may seem to us, there is a feeling behind the rituals that binds people together and produces a feeling of closeness in the community, underscored by the rhythmic chants and joyous celebrations of special occasions. Though the purpose of every girl is to be married may seem offensive, in the culture in which it takes place, it is not demeaning, and the film does not stand in judgment of its characters or of the community.

As director Rama Buhrstein, a member of the Orthodox community herself, describes the film, "It's not about being an anthropologist or about religion or secularism. Rather, it's about the heart." Shira is asked to choose between her sense of duty to her family and community and her desire to fulfill her own dreams. Throughout the process, however, she is not alone and is always surrounded by love and support from mothers, fathers, aunts, rabbis, even though their advice may be conflicting. Her affectionate Aunt Hanna (Razia Israeli), who never married because of a disability, encourages Shira to do what is right for herself, putting her at odds with her mother.

Shira's older unwed cousin Frieda (Hila Feldman) tells her that it was Esther's wish that she marry Yochay if anything should happen to her, a proposition Yochay rebels at. Sensing Shira's confusion and uncertainty about marrying Yochay, however, the chief Rabbi (Melech Thal) refuses to bless the marriage. Even as many emotions seem to be happening all at the same time, the resolution of the conflict is poignant and even beautiful and it all comes together in a memorable final shot.


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