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Gett
Gett: Der Prozess der Viviane Amsalem (2014)
Movie
  • Director:
    Ronit Elkabetz,Shlomi Elkabetz
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Ronit Elkabetz,Shlomi Elkabetz
  • Cast:
    Ronit Elkabetz,Simon Abkarian,Gabi Amrani
  • Time:
    1h 55min
  • Year:
    2014
In Israel there is neither civil marriage nor civil divorce. Only rabbis can legitimize a marriage or its dissolution. But this dissolution is only possible with full consent from the husband, who in the end has more power than the judges. Viviane Amsalem has been applying for divorce for three years. But her husband Elisha will not agree. His cold intransigence, Viviane's determination to fight for her freedom, and the ambiguous role of the judges shape a procedure in which tragedy vies with absurdity, and everything is brought out for judgment, apart from the initial request.
Casts
Credited cast:
Ronit Elkabetz Ronit Elkabetz - Viviane Amsalem
Simon Abkarian Simon Abkarian - Elisha Amsalem
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gabi Amrani Gabi Amrani - Haim
Dalia Beger Dalia Beger - Donna Aboukassis
Shmil Ben Ari Shmil Ben Ari - Ya'akov Ben Harouch
Abraham Celektar Abraham Celektar - Shmuel Azoulay
Rami Danon Rami Danon - Rabbi Danino
Sasson Gabai Sasson Gabai - Rabbi Shimon
Eli Gorenstein Eli Gorenstein - Head Rabbi Salmion (as Eli Gornstein)
Evelin Hagoel Evelin Hagoel - Evelyn Ben Chouchan
Albert Iluz Albert Iluz - Meir
Keren Mor Keren Mor - Galia
Menashe Noy Menashe Noy - Carmel Ben Tovim
David Ohayon David Ohayon - David
Roberto Pollack Roberto Pollack - Rabbi Abraham (as Roberto Pollak)

Gett: Der Prozess der Viviane Amsalem (2014)

Official submission of Israel to the best foreign language film category of the 87th Academy Awards 2015.

Filmed in the Summer of 2013.

Ronit Elkabetz's final film before her death.

French visa # 136722.

Taur
Taur
'Gett' means divorce decree in Hebrew. And that's what this film is about: a divorce. A long, painful, difficult and tragic divorce. The film shows the court procedures during a five year period, in which Viviane Amsalem tries to convince her husband Elisha to grant her a divorce. Apparently, in Israel, mutual consent is necessary for a divorce. And a divorce can only be obtained after a procedure in a rabbinical courts.

The consequences of this archaic system are clearly shown. The whole procedure and the rabbinical judges themselves are biased towards men. They consider marriage as a religious contract, not as a consensual agreement between two equal persons. 'Why don't you want to divorce this woman?', asks a judge. 'Because she is my fate', answers Elisha Amsalem.

The whole concept of these religiously inspired courts is completely contrary to what we consider as fair justice. It's amazing that this can exist in a modern state like Israel. No doubt, that is exactly the message the directors wanted to give with this film. Of course, Judaism is no exception in this regard. Compared to men, women are usually disadvantaged in religion, be it by the Islamic rules to wear a veil, or by the catholic rules forbidding women to become priests.

Apart from being a film with a strong message, this is also a wonderful cinematographic accomplishment. The film is completely devoid of any sensationalism. It shows the goings-on in the court room, and nothing else. This sounds boring, but in fact the film makers achieve the opposite effect. You keep on watching with growing amazement. In fact, a lot of things happen during the proceedings. At first, there is the clear obstruction from Elisha, who refuses several times to appear in court. After that, there is a series of appearances by witnesses, who are very colourful personalities and sometimes add a bit of humor to the grim proceedings. And in the end there is a final dramatic showdown between the two protagonists.

All of this takes place in the bare court room, filled with religious zealots, who consider coloured toe nails as something to be frowned upon, and forbid Viviane to touch her own hair because somehow that could give offense. The power of this film is the acting by all involved. Co-director Ronit Elkabetz is incredible as the patient, dignified Viviane, barely hiding her contempt for her husband and the judges. Only at the very end, she allows herself to fully express her emotions. But the husband, Elisha, is also shown as a complex character. He is a rigid man, constrained by his religious beliefs. You only fully get to understand his motivations after he is convicted to a prison sentence for contempt of court.

This is one of those movies that truly deserve an international art-house audience. It is worth seeing because of the subject, but even more so because of its quality. I was amazed to be the first one to review it, and to see that only 130 people have rated it.
Kezan
Kezan
Excellent movie. It is really a play, with a play's limited sets, but with the movie camera's freedom to somehow annotate the lines with sub-textual commentary. The camera, is, however, never, intrusive, and remains mostly neutral (if that is even possible). The immense frustration of this absurd ritual for divorce transfers to the viewer. The 'wife", seeking the divorce, remains almost silent, save for several curt responses to the self-important rabbis ruling over the case. The underlay here is Middle East culture, fundamentalism in my book, trundling it's (formerly: its) tyranny down thru these ages, and it makes you wonder how sane peep still adhere, so desperately it seems, to this primitive and obsolete madness.
Galanjov
Galanjov
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2014) is an Israeli film written and directed by the sister-and-brother team of Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz. Ronkit Elkabetz also stars in the movie. She plays Viviane Amsalem, who is married to Elisha Amsalem (Simon Abkarian), from who she wants a divorce. In order to be divorced from Elisha, Viviane must obtain a Gett--the approval of her husband for the divorce. That is the basic plot of the movie. In fact, it's the only plot of the movie. Can Viviane obtain the divorce that she so desperately wants.

I learned--after watching the film--that Gett is actually the third movie in a trilogy about this couple. Although it would probably make sense to watch the trilogy in chronological order, Gett stands on its own as a powerful and complete film. The script contains references to earlier events, but they are presented clearly enough to allow us to understand them.

All of the actions take place in the rabbinical courtroom in Israel, and in the waiting room of the courtroom. There's not a single shot of anything outside the courtroom. It's a truly claustrophobic setting, especially because the courtroom and waiting room are devoid of any color or any objects of interest, other than the actors.

Both of the leading actors are superb. Our heart goes out to Viviane Amselem, who simply wants a divorce. She appears to be a fine person--honest, honorable, and someone who has made a real effort to be and remain a good wife. However, the marriage for her is dead, and she wants to leave the marriage and move on with her life. She has wanted this for five years, and still she is not divorced.

Her husband, Elisha, is not a cardboard cutout villain, which would actually make things easier for us as viewers. He is a handsome, intelligent, well-spoken man. However, he appears emotionally cold and aloof. I wonder if he might have a condition somewhere along the autism spectrum. Certainly, his interactions with others--the judges, his wife, the witnesses--are uniformly cold and almost robotic.

What we learn is that there is no such thing as a "civil court" for divorces in Israel. The rabbinical court is the only court. In the United States, a highly observant Jewish woman might go to a rabbinical court to obtain a Gett. If her husband refuses to give her a Gett, she can't be divorced from a religious point of view. However, if she is desperate enough, she has the choice of going to a civil court and getting a legal divorce. (This may not be considered an option by a highly observant woman, but she has the legal option, whether she chooses to use it or not. In Israel, she doesn't have the legal option.)

What I took away from this film is that the Israeli legal system is broken in respect to divorce. The rabbis can ponder. They can quote from the Talmud. They can subpoena witnesses, they can freeze someone's bank account or credit cards. They can cajole, they can reason, they can fume. What they can't do is make a husband give his wife a Gett.

This film was shown at the excellent Dryden Theatre in Rochester, NY as part of the matchless Rochester International Jewish Film Festival. Unfortunately, we were unable to be at the theater that night, so we bought the movie on DVD. It worked very well on DVD--it's basically a courtroom drama, so there's not any scenery or action shots that would do better on a large screen.

Note: A booklet was Included in the DVD, which contained commentary about the film. That's how I learned about the two earlier movies: To Take a Wife (2004) and Seven Days (2008).
Crazy
Crazy
The matter of divorce is an Israel-only problem where power over marriage and divorce is in the hands of the rabbinate. As the IMDb Summary notes, civil marriage and divorce does not exist in Israel. Thus Gett may be incomprehensible to non-Jews outside Israel where marriage is a civil matter but can be licensed to religious authorities. Judaism has this further peculiarity that the man must consent to the bill of divorce (the Get)for the divorce to take place. Normally,this is a formality and Israeli couples can part and resume their lives.

Without a Get, neither spouse can remarry. If the man abandons his wife and leaves the country, the woman is in a legal limbo. This was the subject of an earlier short Israeli film, Ha-Get. In Gett, the man is available but refuses to consent. The Rabbis try all the limited avenues available to force consent (take away the driver's license, jail, etc.) but can't force the man to sign. That is the basis of Gett.

I have given Gett a 9 despite the lack of action and the focus on a less than universal problem. My reason is that, while watching Gett, I found similarities to the classic 12 Angry Men. I realize that it's a different courtroom and type of case on trial but that static tension is present in both films. The second reason is the acting skills displayed, particularly by Ronit Elkabetz. Even if you knew nothing about the divorce problem in Israel, you can read in Ronit Elkabetz' character the agony and frustration that getting a Get can cause.

I highly recommend Gett.
Mall
Mall
Greetings again from the darkness. Personal views on Politics and Religion are purposefully avoided in my film reviews as I prefer to view the work from the perspective of art and storytelling. Sometimes, however, a film exposes such an injustice that stifling one's opinions is just not practical. Such is the case with this latest from the brother-sister co-directing and co-writing team of Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz.

This is the final piece to the creative siblings' trilogy on Israeli marriage that began with To Take a Wife (2004), and was followed by 7 Days (2008). That's right, the two characters of husband Elisha (Simon Ebkarian) and wife Viviane (played by director Ronit Elkabetz who was also in the excellent 2007 film The Band's Visit) have been followed through the stages of marriage, separation, and now divorce court. Only their divorce court is not what most of the world thinks of when we hear that term. In Israel, divorce is not a civil matter, but rather falls under Jewish law and the proceedings are overseen by a triumvirate of rabbinical judges. If that's not difficult enough to stomach … it's the husband who holds ALL the power. The husband must agree to grant his wife the divorce. Without his permission, the judges can do nothing and the wife is bound to the marriage.

With the story unfolding almost exclusively in the bleak courtroom, Viviane trudges through delays, no-shows, desperate negotiations, and other time-wasters; only occasionally succumbing to an outburst, rather than her usual quiet dignity. Elisha maintains a seemingly proud and determined look when he does show for hearings, only periodically shooting a look of disgust at his wife. His confidence stems from the power in knowing that grounds for divorce do not include irreconcilable differences. The camera work puts us right in the courtroom and we soon recognize Elisha's mannerisms as not just passive-aggressive, but also manipulative and misguided. He is not an awful man, but this is an awful marriage.

Long a fan of courtroom dramas, I was mesmerized by the dumbfounding process as well as the stellar performances, excellent script and POV camera work. Ms Elkabetz is terrific as Viviane, and her work is complimented by Mr Ebkarian as her husband, Sasson Gabay as his brother and advocate, and Menashe Noy as her advocate and admirer. The film is a strange blend of hypnotic and infuriating and heart-breaking. It's uncomfortable to watch, but one we can't turn away from … especially as Viviane shouts "You don't see me!" to the judges.
Clandratha
Clandratha
The individuals and institutions promoting the rights of women make an admirable work, but sometimes, a film such as Gett is able to show us how much is still left to do in a much more devastating and memorable way, specially in regions of the world in which rules haven't changed enough throughout the centuries. And the fact that the film achieved that without any exaggeration or dull sermons reflects the brilliant work from co-directors and co- screenwriters Ronit (who was also the leading actress) and Shlomi Elkabetz. I also have to make the warning that Gett is a movie whose minimalistic structure and paused rhythm might end up boring some spectators (even though that wasn't my case). The film is exclusively developed inside the austere offices of a court in Israel, in which three wise rabbis judge and rule civil disputes. In this occasion, lawyer Carmel Ben Tovim requests the dissolution of the marriage between Viviane and Elisha, who has apparently been a model husband throughout the years. However, Viviane isn't entitled to separate due to the absence of concrete causes (such as abuse, adultery, etc.) and the husband is left the right to grant the divorce, even if his wife has been suffering an unhappy and incompatible marriage. In other words, Viviane is practically a slave without any rights or control over her destiny. And that's what the whole film basically consists on. The months of trial are extended to years while both sides of the conflict present witnesses, expose reasons and try to convince the judges. The process is obviously more difficult for Viviane, since her happiness and wish of marital freedom don't seem to be relevant factors in the legal process; law is always on her husband's side, while the judges don't even comprehend the woman's motivation. Even the witnesses appointed by her lawyer have difficulties to justify a divorce when none of the "normal" reasons are present. Why does Viviane not stay quiet and accept her devout wife role? And the most interesting thing is that none of that comes from intentional malice, but the combination of patriarchal culture with laws and traditions of a very slow evolution. The performances are excellent, since all the actors feel absolutely credible as authentic individuals with very particular interpretations about justice and spirituality. Apparently, Gett is the third part of a trilogy, but I don't think it's necessary to have watched the previous films in order to appreciate the remarkable attributes from this movie as well as its cultural and ideological value. In summary, I recommend Gett with enthusiasm because of its fascinating screenplay, perfect performances and austere direction which doesn't require the traditional ornaments of legal drama in order to captivate us and leave us thinking. Thinking specially about the blessing of being single.
Celen
Celen
Determined in its aim, the brother and sister Elkabetz have brought to the screen to much acclaim 'Gett: the Trial of Viviane Amsalem'. Like many Israeli film that attacks Israel's sacred cows, 'Gett' takes place in a closed universe of a courtroom, as though we are in a theater. Viviane Amsalem sues for divorce--a 'Gett'Only a religious court can dissolve the marriage, but Elisha Amsalem refuses to allow it, to the extent he at first refuses to appear in court; then does but remains firm in his refusal. Israel like most Muslim and Arab countries leaves issues such as divorce and inheritance and other matter touching the personal sphere in the hands of religious authorities. A practice that goes far back in time. So during five years, Viviane Amsalem suffers abuse by the rabbis and the contempt of her accusers for not being a good Jewish wife. Her husband initially is seen as a model spouse, but mittendrin it turns out that Elisha is intolerant, intransigent and contentious. So, after 30 years of marriage, Viviane files for divorce; she has moved out of the house, gone to her sister's. Nonetheless, she prepares food daily for husband and her only son who remains at home. She is a hairdresser with her own business and a will of her own. On the other hand, Elisha treats her as his property--professing undying love--but won't let go until at the end he signs the divorce, but at a price which prejudices Viviane's happiness. Yet, she is free of him. It is good to see Simon Abkarian in the role of Elisha. This seasoned actor gave a good turn in Michel Deville's 'Almost Peaceful'. Ronit Elkabetz us a study in wifely suffering, and absolutely beautiful. The Hebrew is peppered with words of Moroccan Arabic, and moments of French since the protagonists are of Moroccan origin settled in Israel of long date. 'Gett' is a blow for women's rights. And a winner. In Europe and North America say Beit Dins exist to grant divorce for Orthodox Jews. (In Israel only Orthodox practices are allowed for a gett.) Luckily, divorce exists in the civil sphere, but in the eyes of the pious Jews, a woman without a gett is wayward and nothing better than a prostitute. A word or two, on the presence of Arab Jews in Israeli cinema and stage, although they are not considered the equal of Jews of European ancestry. Isn't Israel a European construct, with non-European Jews for the numbers to take possession of land?
Kalv
Kalv
"Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" (2014 release from Israel; 115 min.) brings the story of Viviane and Elisha Amsalem's divorce trial. As the movie opens, we are informed that Viviane left her husband three years ago, and that she is now trying to get a divorce (or "gett" in Hebrew). Viviane and her lawyer are in court, but Elisha refuses to appear, and we are then quickly informed "six months later", "two months later", "three months later", with no end in sight. Will Viviane be able to get a divorce? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first, this movie is co-written and co-directed by Ronit Elkabetz (who also plays the role of Viviane) and Shlomi Elkabetz (whom I believe is her real-life husband). Second, 95% of the movie plays out in the court room, and as such is really more of a filmed stage play than it is a movie in the traditional sense. The movie consists is various family members and friends testifying as to why the divorce should, or should not, be granted. Third, most importantly, this movie spotlights the many absurdities of the Israeli court system, at least how it relates to divorce matters. The judges are rabbis and, most appallingly, the true power is held by the husband, who apparently must consent to granting the divorce. Without the husband's consent, not even the court can impose the divorce. In that sense, this movie demonstrates how a husband can abuse his wife psychologically, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. For that reason, I found the movie deeply disturbing, although I am also aware that, sadly, Israel is far from the only country where women are treated in this manner. Bottom line: "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" is very much worth seeing, but let the viewer be aware: you may likely be pretty upset about what plays out in this Israeli divorce court drama.

I saw this movie recently at the Silverspot Cinema in Naples, FL. The early evening screening where I saw this at was quite nicely attended, which surprised me, given not only the nature of the movie, but also the theater-like style of the movie. If you are in the mood for a top-notch foreign divorce court drama that will challenge you in more ways than one, you cannot go wrong with this. "Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Jorad
Jorad
Governed by strict religious rules, there are no civil courts for divorce proceedings for Jews in Israel. Even though women over age eighteen can vote and must, like everyone else, undergo compulsory military training, Israel is still a male-dominated society and wives are considered to be the property of the husband. This means that a divorce (referred to as a "get") can only be granted if the husband agrees to it, unless there is proof of physical abuse, infidelity, or lack of support. Without a divorce, a religious Jewish woman cannot remarry and becomes an ostracized member of the community called an "agunah" or a "chained person." This predicament of Jewish women in Israel is the focus of the absorbing Israeli film, Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem. Directed by siblings Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, Gett, the third film in a trilogy that began in 2004 with To Take a Wife and continued in 2008 with 7 Days, is a powerful dramatization of Viviane Amsalem, an unhappily married woman (Ronit Elkabetz, Edut) who seeks a divorce from her husband Elisha (Simon Abkarian, Zero Dark Thirty). Since he refuses to grant her a get, she must plead her case in a religious court under the jurisdiction of three Orthodox rabbis.

Winner of six Israeli Ophir Awards including Best Picture and nominated for a Golden Globe, Gett depicts the interviews and appointments Viviane has with the rabbinical court and the entire film takes place in the cramped courtroom or in the adjacent hallways. Viviane does not appear during the first few minutes as the camera focuses only on the men talking about her. She sits facing the judges and is only visible when she is being reprimanded for speaking without being spoken to. She needs no words, however, to convey the anguish clearly apparent on her face and in her gestures.

Though the trial stretches out for what seems like an endless period of time, the directors stated that similar trials may take three times as long. The dramatization of the extended trial starts and stops as we are notified by intertitles such as "three months later," "two months later," "one year later," and so forth until five years have passed. There are times when Elisha does not show up in court in spite of the rabbi's order and who threatens to revoke his driver's license, cancel his credit cards, and/or send him to jail but to no avail. If a husband refuses to grant his wife a divorce, the rabbis are powerless to force him.

Though Viviane has lived apart from him for four years and claims that they have not spoken during that time, the judges refuse to see that the marriage has gone past the point of no return and look for no solution other than having the couple remain together to try and "work it out." Witnesses are brought in to testify about Elisha being a good man (one calls him a saint) who even lets his wife go out alone. Even witnesses for the plaintiff say that Elisha has a good character. Represented by her articulate attorney Carmel Ben Tovim (Menashe Noy, Big Bad Wolves), Elisha is not accused of cheating, physical abuse, or lack of support, but only that, after thirty unhappy years of marriage, she no longer loves him and that they are incompatible.

While Elisha sits in distant silence, one witness claims that she heard Viviane yelling and throwing things inside the house. At that point Viviane says "It's easy to blame the one who yells. Those who whisper venom are innocent." It often seems as if Viviane is on trial rather than the issue of divorce. Elisha's brother Rabbi Shimon (Sasson Gabai, The Band's Visit) who is representing him, calls her a "wayward" woman and the judge takes offense when she unties the bun and lets her hair fall on her shoulders while another judge chastises her for speaking her mind. Brazenly, Shimon accuses Carmel of being secretly in love with his client and one witness testifies that she saw Viviane in a café talking to a man who was not part of her family.

As the trial drags on, it is clear that Elisha is simply not willing to let go and that he still loves his wife even if he defines it in his own terms. Gett has become a hot-button topic in Israel and is now being vigorously debated in both secular and religious circles. In fact, it mirrors a current case in New York where an orthodox rabbi has been accused of kidnapping husbands to coerce them through beatings and torture to provide a get to their wives. While there are no clear-cut victims and both characters are trapped in a heartbreaking situation, the film is a powerful indictment of archaic religious laws and traditions that make women second-class citizens. In the movie's most compelling moment, Viviane finally explodes in a torrent of rage and frustration, practically begging for her freedom. The rage and frustration is also ours.
Simple fellow
Simple fellow
The Israeli movie Gett is the story of Viviane Amsalem and her five-year struggle to obtain a divorce (gett) through Israel's Orthodox rabbinical courts. The only roadblock: her husband says "no," and under Jewish religious law, a divorce cannot be granted unless the husband agrees. The entire movie takes place in the courtroom and just outside it, as witnesses come and go and the couple and their lawyers face off, in confrontations that rapidly switch between absurdity and tragedy. This may sound as if there's not much action, but there is plenty going on emotionally. Except for the lawyers' confrontations, much of the power of the film comes from the way feelings simmer (mostly) below the surface, through the outstanding performances by the wife (played by Ronit Elkabetz) and husband (Simon Abkarian). He is torturing her in front of the three rabbis who serve as judges, who alternately don't see it, don't acknowledge it, and don't act when they do. This also makes the film a cautionary tale about the difficulties of male-dominated religious courts, intent on shoring up a patriarchic system and oblivious to individual and women's rights. Not surprisingly, in real life, Israel's rabbinic judges claim the movie misrepresents them, which, as Israel's oldest daily newspaper Haaretz says, "misses the underlying point: that the rabbinical courts will not approve a divorce unless the man agrees to it," citing a 2013 survey that one in three women seeking divorce in Israel is "subject to financial or other extortion by her husband." The term for these truly "desperate housewives" is "chained women." Lest you think these difficulties are confined to the Jewish State or some historical period, in 2013 in New York, criminal prosecutions resulted when rabbis kidnapped and tortured several estranged husbands to persuade them to approve their divorces. (Although the United States regulates marriage, divorce, and remarriage through the secular laws, for these proceedings to be religiously recognized, Orthodox Jews must also have them approved in rabbinical courts.) Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi directed the film, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 72nd Golden Globe Awards and won the Israeli Film Academy Ophir Award for Best Picture.
Waiso
Waiso
Israeli actress, screenwriter and director Ronit Elkabetz and Israeli screenwriter and director Shlomi Elkabetz's feature film which they wrote, is inspired by the life of their mother and the third part of a trilogy which was preceded by "To Take a Wife" (2004) and "7 Days" (2008). It premiered in the 46th Directors' Fortnight section at the 67th Cannes International Film Festival in 2014, was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 39th Toronto International Film Festival in 2014, was shot on locations in Israel and is an Israel-France co-production which was produced by producers Sandrine Bauer, Marie Masmonteil and Shlomi Elkabetz. It tells the story about an Israeli wife, experienced hairdresser and mother of four named Viviane whom has been living with her sister, her brother named Emil Amzaleg and his wife named Rachel since she left her husband of many years named Elisha Amsalem whom she got engaged with as a fifteen-year-old.

Distinctly and precisely directed by Israeli filmmakers Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz, this finely paced fictional tale which is narrated from multiple viewpoints though mostly from the protagonist's point of view, draws an immediately involving, thought-provoking and unprejudiced portrayal of an Israeli citizen constrained within the confines of a marriage she walked out of three years ago and no longer wishes to be restricted to, and her prolonged hearing before a rabbinical court called Beth din which is the only institution in Israel which can grant her a divorce, with the assistance of a renowned attorney named Carmel Ben Tovim. While notable for its interior milieu depictions, reverent cinematography by cinematographer Jeanne Lapoirie, production design by production designer Ehud Gutterman and costume design by costume designer Li Alembic, this dialog-driven and narrative-driven story about divorce laws in a country and republic of ingrained traditions which, as long as both parts have honored the agreement, makes the person requesting to end the pact plead for the other person's consent which he or she is not obliged to give, and a judicial system which practices laws that makes it possible for people to become chained and dictates their dignity and personal choices which are not influenced but veraciously autonomous, depicts a dense study of character and contains a great and timely score by composers Dikla and Shaul Besser.

This thematically concise, ironically humorous and compromising narrative feature which is set in Israel in the 21st century and where a Jewish father and mother becomes defendant and plaintiff, he keeps on ignoring her wish for separation, she keeps on fighting against a power their matrimony has given him and the judge of their trial clarifies that he can't force her to return home to him and she can't force him to grant her an annulment, is impelled and reinforced by its cogent narrative structure, subtle character development, rhythmic continuity, cinematographic precision, dynamic interplay, emasculating for both and scrutinizing interrogations, scene where the main character's sister-in-law takes the stand, comment by the judge: "Know your place woman!" and answer by Viviane: "I know my place. Your Honor." the diversely personified acting performance by Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz and the reverently understated acting performance by French actor Simon Abkarian. A majestically theatrical, concentrated and heartfelt character piece.
Kalrajas
Kalrajas
The explicit statement of Gett is clear: The Israeli justice system is completely patriarchal and of a smothering misogynous tradition. The 45,000 cases of women denied divorces typifies that.

The fictional Vivian Amsalem is put through a trial lasting over five years because her husband refuses to grant her a divorce (a gett). Even then the rabbinical court can only recommend he grant her one; they can't impose it. A husband, of course, has no trouble unloading an unwanted wife.

As directors Ronit and Schlomi Elkabetz told the Palm Springs festival audience, they focused the film entirely on the courtroom because that is to what plaintiff Vivian's life was reduced. There are no objective or director's shots in the film; every shot is from a character's perspective. This film is the third in a trilogy with the same actors/characters, that was initially based on their mother's life but moved further away into this general social issue.

The last shot is of bare feet in sandals leaving a room and a heavy black door slamming behind. Vivian is going back into the room where her Elisha will finally grant her gett on condition she will never be with another man. The shot suggests she is only entering another prison. As soon as the 15-year-old girl was married she began to feel she was in a prison. She suffered thirty years of marriage and bore three children before finally walking out. But the trial for a divorce only proved another prison. Now she enters a third, caged in the promise which her cruel but very religious husband exacted.

The judges are three old men, rabbis, old school, with no tolerance for the woman, her arguments, her emotions. They instinctively side with the husband and expect the wife's traditional subservience to him. Even some of Vivian's family witnesses side with him. The neighbour's wife is so submissive to her husband that he stays and contributes to her testimony. Only when he leaves does she under cross-examination let slip his tyranny. In contrast, a brash woman only alienates the judges by the indecorum of her language and observations.

The divorce trial opens into two larger issues. Not just divorce but the entire Israeli social landscape is affected by the power of the orthodoxy. The rabbinical court's sole authority over marriages and divorces is a powerful emblem of the larger problem, a secular state still throttled by religious orthodoxy. Hence the assault on women riding buses with the haredim, presuming to pray at the Wailing Wall, daring to take office in the outcast Reform movement. In short the Jewish orthodoxy is as inhumane and dangerous as the Moslem orthodoxy. In fact, the traditional misogyny is not limited to Israel or even most powerful there. It holds worse sway over the Arab nations around her.

But the film has a larger address still. At one point Vivian says "It's easy to blame the one who yells. Those who whisper venom are innocent." Even in our more liberal societies women are seriously disadvantaged in marital matters. The genders are wired for us to expect the men to be rational, quiet, unemotional, and when their wives turn emotional, express their feelings, want to be heard and heeded, they're dismissed as hysterical. This was the key issue in Vivian's marriage. Her husband's detached silence drove her to throw crockery at him. It's apparent in the three judges' anger and disdain at the two women who speak with emotion. We may have a better justice system but our marriages are rarely free of the dynamic targeted in Gett. Here divorces may be easier to get but mutual respect in marriage? Not that much.
Gribandis
Gribandis
A very hard to watch film with absolutely no cinematic enjoyment experience. Discomfort built to anger then lead to rage and finally exasperation. All to be endured throughout the length of the film, from the first to the last second. The questions and answers are silly and trivial. They are more to demonstrate position of power or details for juicy gossiping than the actual intentions of getting to the bottom of the issue. The topic at hand is important and the whole movie could be much more powerful only if it had a better scriptwriter with better lines/script to help in shinning its subject matter. Or maybe, that is intentional because it's a true reflection of these real life dramas.

The "Gett" practice is abhorrently barbaric with disgustingly unjust outcomes. Things to take away from this movie: 1. Living in Israel as woman, it's best to not get entangled into a marriage. 2. Israel is without civil marriage laws and in this aspect it is not a civilized society as we tend to think, especially when it comes to women's rights or just basic human rights. 3. In this day and age, Jewish women are still living with injustice and maltreatment, under a male controlled society, as much as they did in ancient time or as in backward third world countries. 4. The ridiculousness of religion and religious leaders' perspective/understanding on the matters of male and female relationships. 5. The obtuse mentality of these Jewish rabbis and their fanatical followers. 6. The cruelty of men when love is the excuse with religious rules and social customs are the treatments using for their own selfishness and their lack of empathy.

By now, we all should see the importance of separation between religion and state, religious leaders and state affairs, religious rules and civil laws.
Wetiwavas
Wetiwavas
The Israeli system of divorce is out of whack, a lot of Israeli women are "anchored" (as the Hebrew language puts it) in marriages they don't want, and a lot of people are angry, so as a male Israeli I'm pleased that this divorce drama doesn't turn the husband into a sneering villain to symbolize the balefulness of the system. Instead the husband is a woebegone sort of Bartleby who is emotionally unable to say "yes" to a divorce and he seems very alone. A parade of witnesses are played flamboyantly by top Israeli character actors, and the husband's isolation is emphasized by the fact that the actor playing him is a foreigner little known in Israel. (In fact, and unrealistically, the dialogue tends to lapse into French and after an initial protest the judges tend to tolerate the departure.) So while the movie certainly presents the woman as the aggrieved party-- she was married too young, and to a man whose expectations of religious observance she couldn't bring herself to meet-- the balance is not against an evil or deeply vindictive husband but against a bruised and defensive one, and it works well.
Rgia
Rgia
Is this movie supposed to be a comedy? An entire community of mentally challenged individuals seemingly incapable of understanding what it means to testify on someone's behalf? Each witness for the wife made the most ridiculous and laugh out loud statements, and each one eventually or in whole discrediting the wife. The rabbis (Learned men indeed) made no sense, and blatant lying was completely acceptable for them. I think the movie could have made it's point while captivating the audience if it didn't resort to turning each character into a caricature. Not one witness seemed to understand the impact their statements had against the person they were there to support. It just made me feel sorry that this entire society is built on ignorance. The lawyers, the wife, the husband, the witnesses, the rabbis - IGNORANT.
Celore
Celore
This film was screened for our local cinema club and the only reason I suffered through the entirety was out of respect for whatever segment of the viewers that found some semblance of value in it. It was horribly painful to watch, extremely repetitive and every time the scene began with a time-line (6 months later, 2 months later, etc.) I wanted to scream. The premise is that the husband gets some sadistic pleasure in watching his wife suffer in limbo while he refuses to grant her a divorce. Why would anyone wants to subject themselves to 2 hours agonizing along side her. I have never been more anxious for a movie to end.
Weetont
Weetont
I watched the trailer and i really liked it. the movie was really interesting when it began. but after watching it for a while got bored, but managed to complete it somehow because this movie is nothing other than the same room and the same people, but i am actually glad i watched it. This movie really tells us about how many husbands treat their wives, no abusing no extra marital affair, but they just treat them as they don't exist. they just want their wives to take care of their kids and house. all they can give is just loneliness.never ever try to understand their situation. In this movie the woman who craves for freedom was really painful. i think most women should watch this movie.
Gavidor
Gavidor
In Israel, if a woman wants a divorce, she must go before a religious court and obtain a "gett" from her husband—a document that permits the divorce only if the husband says so. You would think that a progressive society such as Israel would be up to date when it comes to divorce, but think again! "Gett: The Trial of Vivian Ansalem," is co-directed by brother and sister team, Shlomi and Ronit Elkabetz. Ronit plays the title character of Viviane who is pitted against her boorish husband, Elisha, who simply won't give into his wife's demand for a final separation.

"Gett" is mainly set in a small, claustrophobic room where three rabbis officiate—there's a head rabbi, Salmion, who does most of the talking. The action doesn't take place over a few months—it's actually years before the case is resolved. The passage of time is indicated by inter-titles, generously interspersed throughout the film. The trial is often delayed due to the Elisha's refusal to show up. When he does show up, he's defended by his brother who the court refers to as a rabbi but later is exposed by the defense attorney, to lack full accreditation for such an appellation.

For the first few minutes, the camera focuses on the judges and then Elisha, but plaintiff Viviane is not shown. It becomes obvious that the opening of the film is symbolic of Viviane's treatment by the Court and the male Jewish society in general—she's clearly a second-class citizen. The judges in particular don't feel she's doing enough to effect a reconciliation with Elisha. Early on, despite her great distaste, she returns home and attempts again to work things out with her husband. But as everyone agrees, including family and neighbors, these two are simply not compatible. The judges also feel she's not modest enough for their tastes—when she lets her hair down during one point during the proceedings, the head rabbi admonishes her severely.

What's so fine about the screenplay is that both Viviane and Elisha are treated sympathetically. Elisha doesn't come off as a monster by any means—all parties agree that he was never physically violent toward his wife. Nonetheless, he's much more religious than Viviane and is unable to show affection. When Viviane finally testifies, she makes it clear that he has been engaged in attempting to psychologically humiliate her for years. The judges, despite their biases, also come off as fleshed out human beings. They seem truly interested in hearing both of the warring sides' stories but ultimately are too set in their ways to throw off a backward tradition.

In addition to the principals, the defense attorney Carmel fights an uphill battle against the triumvirate of biased judges. There's a great scene where he does an excellent job of questioning the wife of Elisha and Viviane's neighbors—she at first pictures herself as a credible, "happily married" wife. But after withering cross-examination, the woman is exposed as someone who's probably just as unhappy as Viviane in her relationship with her husband—a man who's really a tyrant, whom she is afraid of!

Some may regard "Gett" as a bit long, but for the patient film-goer, it's a fascinating dissection of marital discord. Things really come to a head when Elisha goes back on his word to end the marriage. And when he finally does agree to the Gett, he shows his misogynistic true colors by extracting a promise of sex from his exhausted wife.

Hopefully this film will lead to changes in divorce law in Israel. The positive aspects of Judaism are being dragged down by a slavish devotion to an archaic view of marriage and relationships.
Kifer
Kifer
Resolving a divorce case in a courtroom led by rabbis does not seem an easy task. One who does not know the internal aspects of the Talmud can only suppose that there are precepts or laws that are described in the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, on which the decisions of the judges are based. Without going into religious details, it is observed that man, as in the rest of religions, has a power that women do not possess. The man can refuse to give the divorce and there is no law that forces him to do the opposite, whereas if it were the other way around, probably the same thing would not happen. The film has an interesting and low budget plot, the controversies and the statements in his scenes give it a high value. The final result is not what one always expects, but it is something that is within the established in that society. It is an interesting film, which increases the knowledge of the world where we live in.
Froststalker
Froststalker
The title character is a secular Israeli Jew trying to get a divorce from her devoutly religious Orthodox husband who refuses to comply. As the Israeli court system cannot grant a divorce without the husband's consent, Viviane has a very uphill struggle.

With the exception of a minute or so, all of this film takes place in a small courtroom with occasional scenes in an adjoining waiting room. As the courtroom looks bland and ordinary, this film deliberately takes on the challenge of maintaining viewers' interest within such constraints. In doing so, it succeeds with flying colours.

This is due to a detailed script with various surprises and a superb cast especially Ronit Elkabitz in the title role. (She is also the co-director and co-writer with Shlomi Elkabitz, her brother.) She has a couple of explosive scenes that are riveting especially one in which she cathartically expresses the views of many of us in the audience.

The various accounts of the plaintiff, defendant, witnesses, and lawyers provide all the detail in what could have been a solid movie about a disintegrating marriage, Ingmar Bergman-style. Incidentally, some of the witness accounts from relatives and neighbours are the most revealing aspects of the story and of the culture of a religious community.

In the end, it is the audience who are the true witnesses and judges of a legal system that is absurd and harshly unfair to women.
Zeks Horde
Zeks Horde
Obtaining a divorce proves challenging for a woman in modern day Israel who by rabbinical law requires her husband's consent in this evocative drama. The film benefits greatly from the daring decision to set the film entirely in court despite the story taking place over months and years. Without external scenes to dissipate the tension, 'Gett' quickly becomes nail-bitingly intense. It also places us very much in the shoes of the rabbinical panel presiding over the case who only ever see what is presented to them in court, not what happens between the couple outside. This also means that we are given precious little insight into why exactly she wants the divorce; almost all the character witnesses call her husband an honorable man, and he does not beat or neglect her, however, the point of the film is not why she wants the divorce but the difficulty of getting one and it is actually refreshing how the film does not dwell on the negatives of their marriage. What does not quite work so well is only revealing towards the end why the husband is so reluctant to divorce her. We are positioned to see him as a stubborn and arrogant individual for the most part, whereas the film gets a whole lot more interesting when we actually come to understand his reasoning. Whatever the case, the overall film leaves an indelible impact that is hard to shake; it is emotionally draining in the best possible way.
Loni
Loni
Thanks to watching the Coen brothers' A Serious Man and Joan Micklin Silver's Hester Street I knew what a Gett was, but little else when I first watched the film.

A religious Jewish divorce, a Gett is apparently the only type of divorce you can get in Israel. The film is about a Morrocan-Israeli couple, Viviane Amsalem and her pious husband, Elisha, who are getting a divorce. It quickly becomes clear that the divorce is not Elisha's idea and that he doesn't want to grant it. The rabbinical court tries to be fair, but the drama drags on for years as Elisha cannot bring himself to divorce his wife.

The film is brilliantly shot almost entirely within one room (there are a few brief scenes that take place outside the courtroom in the waiting room of the building as Elisha and Viviane wait their turn. The camera work is still but it feels vibrantly dynamic and that's because the camera is always showing point of view of one of the characters so we are always in their skin. We only hear about Elisha and Viviane's marriage through how they represent it in court and through their neighbour's testimony but it's easy to see how dysfunctional and claustrophobic it feels and how awful it is to be held hostage to a system in which only the man can make the ultimate decision to sever the marriage.

I didn't know this going into the film, but the movie is actually the last part of a trilogy, all starring Ronit Elkabetz and Simon Abkarian and all directed by Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi. This helps explain why the characters are so lived in (these people have been playing them for a decade), but even on its own, without knowing anything about the previous two films the film stands as a masterpiece in its own right, one of the best courtroom dramas I've ever seen which says so much despite being so pared down.

It is the last ever film both as an actress and as a director for Ronit Elkabetz, who unfortunately died in 2016. But as an end note to her career she could hardly have done better. Gett is a masterpiece.
Halloween
Halloween
This Israeli film is the final part of a trilogy dealing with the life of a middle aged Orthodox Jewish couple, Viviane Amsalem (Ronit Elkabetz, who also co directed with her brother Shlomi) and her husband Elisha. Unfortunately, I haven't seen the two previous movies, so is possible that I missed some of the background story, though we do get a lot of information about the characters in this long (almost two hour) film.

In this third part, Viviane has already left her husband Elisha for some years and is now asking for a divorce. In Israel, though, there is no civil marriage or divorce, and all this matters are handled by a rabbinical court. In the movie, the three judges handling the case are generally unsympathetic with Viviane's arguments (all the action in this movie, that takes place during several years, happens in a small courtroom, except for a few scenes that take place in the adjacent waiting room).

Viviane no longer loves Elisha, but in the view of the court, this is not enough justification to grant a divorce. Especially, since Elisha is a devout Jew, has never hit her, never cheated on her with another woman, and has always provided for her. She can only get a divorce if Elisha agrees to one, something he is unrelentingly opposed to give.

Though the movie sides with Viviane, it gets points for not making Elisha (nicely played by Simon Abkarian) an obvious villain. He is silent and taciturn. His reasons to reject a divorce are not obviously clear in the movie. He could be doing out of spite, or it could be just male pride, or perhaps, as a pious believer, he simply believes he cannot grant her a divorce if he hasn't broken any traditional marital commandment.

I did like this movie a lot, but in my opinion there are a few scenes which strikes false notes. One scene has a neighbor of the couple, a middle aged housewife testifying in favor of the husband. Viviane's lawyer, in the cross examination, makes clear she did so because she is afraid of her husband, a rude shopkeeper. Another false scene (in my opinion) has Elisha''s brother (who is also his lawyer) accusing Viviane's lawyer of having an affair with her client.

At times, Viviane argues with Elisha in French. Though this is not explained in the movie, I think this is because both are Sephardic Jews from Morocco, and French, and not Hebrew, is their native language.
Wal
Wal
A splendid, superbly acted, intelligently written film, about a nasty divorce proceeding lasting years in Israel. Wife versus husband is not unique, but in this case the struggle defines a culture. But the producers should fire those who were responsible for the subtitles. White subtitles on a white background are close to impossible to read. And the speed with which the subtitles appeared and disappeared was comparably frustrating. Given this flaw, not quite fatal, it was troubling to appreciate the subtlety and intelligence of the film itself. And that weakens the best intentions of all involved in making the film. Too bad. Given that inevitable frustration, the film does more than simply survive. Its impact is remarkable, once again suggesting that understatement in the expression of a vital subject works better than any hard line fury. This film is instructive for all filmmakers. In summary, I would recommend it to the widest range of friends and film scholars.
Xar
Xar
I learn some Jewish stuff, but why make a 2 hour film about a woman who wants to divorce his husband for shallow reasons? It was very desperate hear the whiteness's testimony telling the jury her husband Elisha is a perfect man, i wanted so badly to pop out a dirty secret about this man, and nothing happened. Viviane just wanted to be free despite she still love his husband. The reason: they just don't match. I felt really stupid waiting for some twist or surprises, and nothing happened. The entire movie is flat, too much talking, slow rhythm. Finally Vivian divorced him after 5 years struggling with the jury. Is like a bad Woody Allen tribute.Skip it. Im very disappointed.