Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014)


gett“Why don’t you want to divorce this woman?” – Judge

 Number of Times Seen – 1 (13 Oct 2014)

Brief Synopsis – The tale of a  women stuck in a difficult marriage where her husband refuses to agree to a divorce and how the Jewish Rabinical courts deal with situations similar to this one.

My Take on it – For those of you familiar with my site and parts of my personal life story that I have discussed, you will notice that this movie and its plotline resonates with familiarity for me.

I think for those unfamiliar with Jewish Law and with numerous related aspects of what happen in this movie, I need to explain a few details.

 

  • According to Jewish Law, a man who wishes to divorce his wife must give her a divorce contract known in Hebrew as a “Gett”.
  • Without her receiving this document, she is not allowed to remarry or be considered a divorced woman.
  • This document must be given with the man’s consent and the woman must freely accept it also.
  • A man cannot be directly forced to give his wife this document, but the Rabbinic courts may fine or imprison him if there is a reason for the divorce and he  stubbornly refuses.
  • If he still refuses, there is no way to compel him to do so.
  • A woman who’s husband refuses to grant her this divorce document is known as an “Agunah” (literally the Hebrew word for anchor), because she is anchored to her husband until he decides to grant her the divorce.
  • This is a process that can go on for years and years.
  • The Israeli Laws of Marriage and Divorce are bound by the Rabbinic laws and there is no way for anyone to legally marry or divorce in this country without following the Rabbinic Laws and Guidelines which have been in place for millennia.

This was not an easy film for me to watch because I was personally known as an “anchored” husband for almost a year and a half after my first wife and I separated.  She tried to extort me for more money in the settlement until she would be willing to accept the “Gett”.  Situations like mine are actually quite rare and unfortunately when it does happen it’s mostly in the fashion shown in this movie where a man will just refuse to take part for little to no reason (or for reasons like money, social status or the like)

I feel for women in these kind of situations and I do wish that there was a way to better solve this kind of dilemma, but since I personally am a firm believer in Jewish Law, I know that there are many laws that we don’t understand why they are a certain way, but we do not have the ability to change them as is.  So eventhough many may believe that the law is archaic, there isn’t much that can be done besides find other ways to make men (and women) who drag out these kind of proceedings to have greater sanctions placed on them in order to help them change their minds.

I realize that this movie is basically a movie that is against the current marriage and divorce laws in Israel and the film makers feel that this movie might help bring more awareness to the plights of women in these situations, but despite its strong premise and impact, it won’t be able to change much in the system.

The camera work is exceptional. The whole film takes place within the same room over the course of a few years and the walls of the room become as much a character as the actors themselves due to this.

This movie is Israel’s submission for the 2015 Oscar for foreign language film.

Bottom Line – Very difficult movie to watch but one that is done exceptionally well.  The camera movement is as much of a character as the actors themselves.  The storyline is slightly taken to the extreme but unfortunately there are women in similar situations and I do agree that steps should be taken to change these situations they must be done within the confines of the law. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy

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6 thoughts on “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014)

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