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.
A Beit Din in disarray
Determined in its aim, the brother and sister Elkabetz have brought to the screen to much acclaim 'Gett: the Trial of Viviane Amsalem'. Like many Israeli film that attacks Israel's sacred cows, 'Gett' takes place in a closed universe of a courtroom, as though we are in a theater. Viviane Amsalem sues for divorce--a 'Gett'Only a religious court can dissolve the marriage, but Elisha Amsalem refuses to allow it, to the extent he at first refuses to appear in court; then does but remains firm in his refusal. Israel like most Muslim and Arab countries leaves issues such as divorce and inheritance and other matter touching the personal sphere in the hands of religious authorities. A practice that goes far back in time. So during five years, Viviane Amsalem suffers abuse by the rabbis and the contempt of her accusers for not being a good Jewish wife. Her husband initially is seen as a model spouse, but mittendrin it turns out that Elisha is intolerant, intransigent and contentious. So, after 30 years of marriage, Viviane files for divorce; she has moved out of the house, gone to her sister's. Nonetheless, she prepares food daily for husband and her only son who remains at home. She is a hairdresser with her own business and a will of her own. On the other hand, Elisha treats her as his property--professing undying love--but won't let go until at the end he signs the divorce, but at a price which prejudices Viviane's happiness. Yet, she is free of him. It is good to see Simon Abkarian in the role of Elisha. This seasoned actor gave a good turn in Michel Deville's 'Almost Peaceful'. Ronit Elkabetz us a study in wifely suffering, and absolutely beautiful. The Hebrew is peppered with words of Moroccan Arabic, and moments of French since the protagonists are of Moroccan origin settled in Israel of long date. 'Gett' is a blow for women's rights. And a winner. In Europe and North America say Beit Dins exist to grant divorce for Orthodox Jews. (In Israel only Orthodox practices are allowed for a gett.) Luckily, divorce exists in the civil sphere, but in the eyes of the pious Jews, a woman without a gett is wayward and nothing better than a prostitute. A word or two, on the presence of Arab Jews in Israeli cinema and stage, although they are not considered the equal of Jews of European ancestry. Isn't Israel a European construct, with non-European Jews for the numbers to take possession of land?
- Aug 23, 2015
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