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 ... Read allAfter 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.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.
Emotionally powerful depiction of the true "desperate housewives"
The Israeli movie Gett is the story of Viviane Amsalem and her five-year struggle to obtain a divorce (gett) through Israel's Orthodox rabbinical courts. The only roadblock: her husband says "no," and under Jewish religious law, a divorce cannot be granted unless the husband agrees. The entire movie takes place in the courtroom and just outside it, as witnesses come and go and the couple and their lawyers face off, in confrontations that rapidly switch between absurdity and tragedy. This may sound as if there's not much action, but there is plenty going on emotionally. Except for the lawyers' confrontations, much of the power of the film comes from the way feelings simmer (mostly) below the surface, through the outstanding performances by the wife (played by Ronit Elkabetz) and husband (Simon Abkarian). He is torturing her in front of the three rabbis who serve as judges, who alternately don't see it, don't acknowledge it, and don't act when they do. This also makes the film a cautionary tale about the difficulties of male-dominated religious courts, intent on shoring up a patriarchic system and oblivious to individual and women's rights. Not surprisingly, in real life, Israel's rabbinic judges claim the movie misrepresents them, which, as Israel's oldest daily newspaper Haaretz says, "misses the underlying point: that the rabbinical courts will not approve a divorce unless the man agrees to it," citing a 2013 survey that one in three women seeking divorce in Israel is "subject to financial or other extortion by her husband." The term for these truly "desperate housewives" is "chained women." Lest you think these difficulties are confined to the Jewish State or some historical period, in 2013 in New York, criminal prosecutions resulted when rabbis kidnapped and tortured several estranged husbands to persuade them to approve their divorces. (Although the United States regulates marriage, divorce, and remarriage through the secular laws, for these proceedings to be religiously recognized, Orthodox Jews must also have them approved in rabbinical courts.) Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi directed the film, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards and won the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture.
- Mar 25, 2015
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content