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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"Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" (2014 release from Israel; 115 min.) brings the story of Viviane and Elisha Amsalem's divorce trial. As the movie opens, we are informed that Viviane left her husband three years ago, and that she is now trying to get a divorce (or "gett" in Hebrew). Viviane and her lawyer are in court, but Elisha refuses to appear, and we are then quickly informed "six months later", "two months later", "three months later", with no end in sight. Will Viviane be able to get a divorce? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Several comments: first, this movie is co-written and co-directed by Ronit Elkabetz (who also plays the role of Viviane) and Shlomi Elkabetz (whom I believe is her real-life husband). Second, 95% of the movie plays out in the court room, and as such is really more of a filmed stage play than it is a movie in the traditional sense. The movie consists is various family members and friends testifying as to why the divorce should, or should not, be granted. Third, most importantly, this movie spotlights the many absurdities of the Israeli court system, at least how it relates to divorce matters. The judges are rabbis and, most appallingly, the true power is held by the husband, who apparently must consent to granting the divorce. Without the husband's consent, not even the court can impose the divorce. In that sense, this movie demonstrates how a husband can abuse his wife psychologically, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. For that reason, I found the movie deeply disturbing, although I am also aware that, sadly, Israel is far from the only country where women are treated in this manner. Bottom line: "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" is very much worth seeing, but let the viewer be aware: you may likely be pretty upset about what plays out in this Israeli divorce court drama.
I saw this movie recently at the Silverspot Cinema in Naples, FL. The early evening screening where I saw this at was quite nicely attended, which surprised me, given not only the nature of the movie, but also the theater-like style of the movie. If you are in the mood for a top-notch foreign divorce court drama that will challenge you in more ways than one, you cannot go wrong with this. "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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