Set in the Orthodox Jewish community in Tel Aviv, Shira (Hadas Yaron), the 18-year-old daughter of rabbi Aharon (Chaim Sharir) is in the early stages of getting matched for marriage to a man she’s only glanced at in a supermarket aisle. When her older sister Esther (Ranana Raz) dies in childbirth, leaving her distraught husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein) to care for the baby alone, Shira’s forced to decide whether to hold out for a husband her own age or to help her family out by marrying Yochay and raising her sister’s baby as her own.
Fill the Void is my most pleasant surprise at this year’s Fest. A spur-of-the-moment decision (and want to sleep in thus missing my 8:30am press screening) resulted in me discovering this film and I’m so very glad the cinematic fates led me to this stunning debut from writer/director Rama Burshtein, herself a member of the Orthodox community. Aside from being a delightfully matter-of-fact window into the Hassidic community, Fill the Void is a dramedy of manners, much like a Jane Austen novel reimagined for the religious community. The film explores the limited options that women in that community have, respectfully imbuing them with dignity and in Shira’s case, a strong will that’s yearning to break free. It also successfully marries slight comedy with a heartfelt sort of-love story and accomplishes the near-impossible task of making a feminist film about a bunch of women whose ultimate goal is getting hitched. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder why this film isn’t making a bigger splash at TIFF.
Is Fill the Void Essential TIFF Viewing?
Most definitely! This is exactly the kind of film that’s meant to be discovered at a film festival. It’s also likely that you may never get a chance to see this film again as a North American release, either theatrically or on DVD, seems like a slim chance at best.
Fill the Void Screening Times
- Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 12:30pm at Cineplex Yonge & Dundas
More About Fill the Void
Fill the Void trailer
Fill the Void Production Gallery
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