Published On: Fri, Oct 17th, 2014

‘Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem’ Getting Top Honors

Ronit Elkabetz

Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, a new Israeli film about the problems of divorce for religious Jews, is getting a lot of buzz ahead of its U.S. release. The film took home the coveted Golden Starfish Award for best narrative at the Hamptons Film Festival in New York.

Ronit Elkabetz, who stars in the movie’s title role, was bestowed a special jury prize for Outstanding Performance by an actress, which had never been awarded at the festival before.

Elkabitz also co-directed and co-wrote the movie with her brother Shlomi.

Gett deals with the problematic issue in the Jewish world of religious divorce, or Gett. In Jewish law a woman must receive the official divorce decree from her husband before she can remarry. Unfortunately, many men refuse to do so, leaving their ex-wives unable to remarry.

This is not so much a problem for non-orthodox Jews around the world. But in Israel there is no civil marriage. All marriage is religious and Jewish marriages and divorces must be sanctioned by the national Rabinate.

In Gett, Viviane Amsalem has been trying to get her husband Elisha to give her a religious divorce for three years, but he has refused. So Viviane has to fight for her freedom from Elisha.

On winning the Hamptons award Ronit Elkabetz said that, “It is simply and exciting. The very important recognition the film is getting in Israel and the world is working wonders. There is a great opportunity here to discuss the status of women, and bring about change, in the world and certainly in Israel. That is what I hope and believe. These are great prizes. Best film and best actress awards made me very happy”

In giving the award the judges said, “Calling attention to a male-dominated and sometimes decade-long process, and set entirely in the courtroom, this brilliantly written and acted film reveals the slow dissolution of a marriage between Vivane (Ronit Elkabetz) and Elisha (Simon Abkarian). Balancing the seriousness of what’s at stake with an often-humorous tone, ‘Gett’ offers a deeply moving take on an otherwise painful procedure.”

Many expect Gett to represent Israel in the foreign language film category at the Oscars next year. The movie was also a huge hit at the Cannes Film festival last May. Variety called it an, “expertly written, brilliantly acted film.”

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