In Reviews




While watching Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, try not to feel like a child caught between the cross hairs of a gruesome five year divorce battle. Here is a film that is so powerful in its message of a need for women’s equality, and yet simple in its makeup, as the film only takes place in 1 room and sometimes in the hallway of an Israeli divorce court. What this film displays is a barrage of venomous dialogue and heated arguments. Sibling directors Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz’s film is not just about the disintegration of a marriage, but also about the rights and feelings of someone when they have fallen out of love with the person they were forced to marry in the first place. “Gett” is a superbly crafted film that will spark debate as the audience leaves the theater. 

Our characters sit divided, the wife Viviane (played by Director Ronit Elkabetz), is attempting to be granted a divorce from her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian). In current Israel, women obtaining a divorce from their husband’s is much more difficult than just checking a box that says “irreconcilable differences”. The scenes are claustrophobic, as the two parties sit on their respective sides in a well framed square. Viviane and her council Carmel Ben Tovim (Menashe Noy) are being put to the ultimate test of patience. Elisha and his brother Shimon, who represents him, use stall tactics by not appearing for court dates, making things as difficult as possible. If this were a competition of avoidance he would earn a gold medal. 

Over the course of 5 years, arguments from both parties will be presented to three Israeli rabbi judges. Witnesses will be brought out, one at a time to explain outside views of the marriage. As the judges and legal council ask questions, more is revealed about the discomfort of this marriage. The neighbors Haim (Gabi Amrani) and Donna Aboukassis (Delia Berger) express how Elisha is a “perfect husband”, but as the husband stands by, it is clear that Donna feels threatened to reveal the truth about this marriage. It is viewed that a woman’s place is only to support their husband, even if what the husband believes is false. 

The camera reveals who Viviane and Elisha are. Elisha is not an abusive husband, or an alcoholic that sleeps with other woman. He is a man of his culture. Viviane is a good caring wife, who has done all she can to provide for her husband that she didn’t want to marry in the first place. She is unique from most Israeli woman. Others would be subservient to their husbands in this situation, give in and live in a broken marriage. “Gett” is a film that divides down the middle, much like Asghar Farhadi’s “A Separation” which makes a statement about the bonds of marriage. This is more a judgement on the arranged marriages, that still take place today removing individuality from the woman who are forced into these situations.

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem is a film that gives woman a voice and as Viviane pleads to those judging her to, “See me! You only see him, but never see me!” It is a rallying cry for woman who feel small, woman who feel they are not allowed a chance of equal pay or treatment. It is a powerful film! 

4 Stars

Written by: Leo Brady   

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