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Fill the Void (Sous-titres français)

Neta Moran , Melech Thal , Rama Burshtein    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product Description

A young Hasidic Jewish woman is pressured into an arranged levirate marriage to an older widower. Stars: Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg

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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very tender, touching and insightful Oct. 26 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
my wife and I enjoyed this movie a lot. The acting was very strong..the story very sensitive..I felt I learned much about the very orthodox community and their customs in this movie.
I was a bit disappointed by the last scene, and am still not too sure why it was as it was, but perhaps lines could not have been crossed...
The families were very caring and loving and I was very moved by the story....Very worthwhile to watch this film...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 30 2014
Format:DVD
Highly recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  79 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving Orthodox-Jewish family drama July 18 2013
By Paul Allaer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"Fill the Void" (2012 release from Israel; 90 min.) brings a very intimate look into the world of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community. As the movie opens, we get to know Shira, an 18 year old woman who is keeping her eyes open about her marriage options (she secretly has her eyes on a young man whom she meets from afar in the dairy section of the grocery store). We also get to know Shira's older sister Esther, who is nine months pregnant with her first-born and due any minute. Then disaster strikes and Esther dies in labor, leaving a big void to fill in the lives of her loved ones: her sister Shira, her mother, and of course her husband Yochay, not to mention the new-born baby. It's not long thereafter that Yochay is contemplating offers for a new marriage, including one from Belgium, as well as one from Frieda, a friend of Shira's and Esther's, and also Shira herself at the insistence of Shira's and Esther's mother. At this point we are only about 30 minutes into the movie. What will Yochay decide to do? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: first and foremost, this movie is a labor of love from writer-director Rama Burshtein, who seemingly has poured her heart and soul into bringing this movie to life, and with great results. Second, we get a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community as never before. At no time do the characters feel forced or over the top, but instead they feel so authentic that at several times during the movie I was wondering if these were actors, or real-life ultra-Orthodox people. Third, kudos to Hadas Yaron in the role of Shira and also Yiftach Klein in the role of Yochay, as they bring fantastic performances, in particular Yaron as the young/vulnerable/confused Shira is just superb. This movie was Israel's entry for Best Foreign Movie in this year's Oscar nominations, and it's easy to see why.

Bottom line: "Fill the Void" is a very moving family drama that just happens to be set in the ultra-Orthodox community of Tel Aviv. I will admit I was moved to tears on several occasions while watching this movie. This movie opened recently at my local art-house theatre here in Cincinnati and I am glad to tell you that the screening I saw this at was quite well attended, indicating there may be a strong demand for this movie. Meanwhile, "Fill the Void" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars `Tradition!' Oct. 10 2013
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
One reason to view FILL THE VOID, written and directed by Rama Burshtein, is the opportunity to view the clothing, the mannerisms, the singing (endless), and the other unique characteristics of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Hasidic community. For those who have never witness this spectrum of Judaism it is an eye-opening experience: religious law, tradition and the rabbi's word are absolute. Marriages are arranged and a woman's outside options are limited, as marriage is a central and crucial moment in their lives. Matches are arranged, decisions about whom to marry are critically important, but apparently the woman always has the right to turn down a prospective suitor. Of importance to note, Rama Burshtein comes form this community and her understanding of all the permutations is obvious.

Shira (Hadas Yaron), a devout 18-year-old Israeli, has come of age and is considering marriage, having met her first serious suitor Yossi (Ido Samuel). Shira's eldest sister Esther (Renana Raz) suddenly dies in childbirth leaving her grieving husband Yochay (the very handsome and talented Yiftach Klein) with a son and no mother to care for the infant. Despite his grief (and the grief of Shira's parents - Irit Sheleg and Chayim Sharir) Yochay decides he must marry. Shira's other sister Frieda (Hila Feldman) declares that Esther had informed her that should anything happen to Esther, Frieda should marry Yochay. Shira's mother, afraid that Yochay will take the offer from a Belgium woman to marry and thus move away with her grandson from Tel Aviv, encourages Shira to marry Yochay. Shira is conflicted, gains support from her armless unmarried aunt Hanna (Razia Israeli) who knows that in this community a woman MUST be married, and after much discussion among the Rabbi (Melech Thal) and the family and Yochay and Shira, a conversation between the couple seals their fate.

The acting is excellent, the cinematography often times seems flooded with light and slightly out of focus as if taken through layers of wedding veils (!), the costumes are amazing even they are the usual dress mode of this Hassidic community, and the attention to detail of such moments as Purim and Shabbat are immaculate. The seemingly endless amount of singing by the men does grow a bit wearisome and covers dialogue at times, but this is a fresh and fascinating view of love, traditions, and laws and the still viable personal choices in this colorful community. In Hebrew with English subtitles. Grady Harp, October 13
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What would you do? Sept. 24 2013
By Chrissy - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this movie because it gave me food for thought. It posed basic ethical and consequence questions in a fresh and interesting way. What would you do if you were placed in a situation where your potential future well being and happiness came because of another's death? How much does family loyalty and cultural norms mean to you in the face of your personal truth and honor?

Shira, the would be new wife of her sister's dead husband is confronted with these ethical issues. The writer and actors masterfully show us the journey to the final decision. This movie is also a touching and sensitive snapshot of an orthodox jew's outlook on problem solving; such as the community involvement, family closeness (sometimes positive, sometimes negative) and going to G-D in prayer for help.

I say well done and worth watching a few times to enjoy the quiet messages and symbolism.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Family tensions are universal! Sept. 30 2013
By Avigayil - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I know a real life story like the one in the film, so I was intrigued. First, there is the general yuck factor about the situation, a widower marrying his deceased wife's younger sister. In the film, the protagonists have to get over that. I admit, I can't, but it didn't interfere with my enjoying this thoroughly entrancing film. The characters are so richly portrayed (and well dressed) and the window into this closed world is lifted. Shira's ( the younger sister ) innocence and doubts never quite leave her, even in the final shot, but that is what drew me in. A wonderful portrait of a close knit family in conflict.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible! Nov. 12 2013
By darren lisitza - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This movie was so beautiful and very powerful. The production quality, lighting, and cinematography were amazing. The story felt so real and it was fascinating to get a glimpse inside this very cloistered community. This movie is a must see!
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