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GETT (2014, IZR) – 9/10

It was “Gett” or “Divorce” and the final part of the trilogy that sister and brother Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz started ten years earlier with “The Take a Wife” and continued with “The Seven Days”. In these films, we followed the marriage of the spouses Vivianna (Ronit Elkabetz) and Eliyahu / Elisha (Simon Abkarian), which came to an end in a brilliant and farcical, absurdist tragicomedy that was nominated for the Golden Globe for the best film outside the English-speaking area. Vivianne has been married to Elisha for over 20 years. Their children grew up and Vivianne decided to divorce because she claims that she can no longer live with that man.

We understand at the beginning that she doesn’t live with Elishe anymore because she moved away from him and returned to her family, but the problem is that he won’t give her a divorce. And this entire film takes place in the courtroom where Vivianne tries to obtain a divorce from her husband, and the whole process, which in the West usually lasts relatively short, here will stretch out for months and years. And as far as I understand, the court that decides on divorce is not a classic court, but some kind of religious Jewish court where rabbis judge, and the gett is actually a document by which the husband allows the woman to separate and remarry because every relationship she has until the gett is not achieved according to Jewish belief is considered adultery.

If the husband does not give the wife permission to divorce, there is no divorce, and the problem for the increasingly desperate Vivianne is that Elisha does not want to grant the divorce. This is how the introductory words are presented in the opening discussion and we learn that Elisha never cheated on her, never beat her, outwardly he seemed to be an exemplary husband and three rabbis who have the duty of judges claim that there is no reason for separation. Instead of parting ways, they all try to convince Vivianne that it would be best for her to return to her husband and that he will forgive her for moving away and accept her back. Although she points out from the beginning that she no longer wants and cannot live with him, it is not considered so important, and everything that will follow will turn into a real farce.

If it weren’t tragic, this whole almost Kafkaesque process would be funny. Both will have to bring witnesses who will reveal the details of their marriage as they saw it. Vivianne will be more and more desperate, and it will become more and more obvious that Elisha is taking revenge and even living on the woman because she caused him something that he considers shameful. And the action of the entire film takes place in one and the same courtroom where the divorce case will take place for months and even years, and “Gett” is a film that brilliantly portrays a hypocritical, religiously conservative and even primitive society from the perspective of a woman. The woman, in this case Vivianne, is the one whose opinion is almost irrelevant, and everything she will experience during this procedure completely exceeds all limits of insanity.

This film is great, and among other things, it deals with a situation that is obviously a big problem, especially for women in the orthodox Jewish community, in an almost tragicomic way. It simply all seems unreal, all these powerful discussions, evidence, testimonies, lamentations, brainstorming, and the peak of insanity are the witnesses who were mostly engaged by Elisha and who in turn present completely superficial, embellished stories that have nothing to do with the brain. Regardless of the fact that the entire film takes place in one interior, “Gett” is an extremely dynamic, witty, deep, complex, smart film that brilliantly warns of a major problem in Israeli society.

Unfortunately, the role of Vivianna was the last for the Israeli actress and director Ronit Elkabetz, who soon died of lung cancer at the age of 52. This film was definitely the highlight of her career and she is fascinating in the role of a woman who seemingly stoically goes through everything that is happening and although it is clear to her that it is all the most ordinary farce, she is completely clear that she is helpless. That she can do absolutely nothing and that she is left at the mercy of her husband, an arrogant and stubborn slob who enjoys mistreating the woman and taking full advantage of the fact that according to their religious laws, the husband is a god and a beating.