Sunday, November 11, 2012

Film Friday: Fill the Void Edition

Warning: The International Blogging Federation’s Oversight Committee has determined that the following post is in direct violation of Article XII-3298-A763 (“Posting Film Friday Posts On a Sunday”) of the Blogging Code. Proceed at your own risk.

Last night, YZG and I went to see a movie.

In the theater.

Which - considering the fact that as far as we can recall, the last movie we saw by ourselves in a movie theater was Sleepless In Seattle – was unusual in and of itself.

But that wasn’t the strangest part.

Because the thing that makes our cinematic date night blog-worthy is that we saw a Hebrew-language movie.

Which had no English subtitles.

And yet, we both really enjoyed the movie and highly recommend it!

If you live here in Israel, you’ll no doubt have guessed by now that we saw “Fill the Void” (i.e. “למלא את החלל” for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) – a wonderful and critically-acclaimed movie that was written and directed by chareidi filmmaker Rama Burshtein.

The storyline is fairly simple. A chassidish 18-year-old girl’s mother wants her to marry her deceased sister’s widower. In other words, there are no major plot turns or shocking developments.

But the amazing and nuanced acting, the brilliant cinematography, and the painstakingly-accurate dialogue, sets, and costumes all add up to a charming movie.

A certain Our Shiputzim reader referred to it as “a chareidi romantic-comedy,” and IMHO, that’s an excellent description.

Unlike many other movies about chareidim, “Fill the Void” is neither a mean-spirited attack on the chareidi world nor a lame attempt at apologetics. Rather, it’s a warm-hearted, sweet, and extremely believable (the mascara scene happened more or less in its entirety to a certain Shiputzim family member) film that just happens to take place in a chassidish community.

Furthermore, Burshtein, who clearly knows her way around this community and gets nearly every single detail right, doesn’t insult her audience’s intelligence.

For example, when the characters sit around a table in dressy clothes and sing, the filmmaker doesn’t need to hit the audience over the head with a maudlin candle lighting scene to announce that it’s now Friday night. Instead, a character’s throwaway comment that he’s on his way to “the tisch” serves the same purpose – albeit in a more subtle and much more effective fashion.

Bottom line: As much as I tend to shy away from hyperbole, I have to say that “Fill the Void” is truly a “must-see” movie. You won’t want to miss it.

Have you seen “Fill the Void”?


  1. I'm so happy to read of a film that is not mean-spirited toward the charedi community and was an enjoyable romantic comedy. Kudos to the filmmaker.

  2. Leora - I think you would really enjoy this film!

  3. Excellent film. We saw it last week and also really enjoyed. The fact that the actors are far from being chassidish (if you've seen pictures of them at the Venice Film Festival, you know what I mean) makes their acting that much more praiseworthy-they were very believable. Except maybe for the Rebbi, he was a bit of a hyperbole, but ok... :-)

  4. really it was a comedy? it wasnt heavy? ive heard about it and just assumed it was heavy. ok gotta see it! thanks mrs s!

  5. Malke - Yeah, I saw pictures from the film festival, and it's really hard to believe that those are the same people!

    Faith/Emuna - Parts of the movie are very moving, and I found myself getting a bit teary a couple of times. But overall, it's definitely a "feel-good" movie. (Heavy and/or depressing books and movies are very much NOT my thing...)

  6. Oh, this sounds like a really good movie--I want to see it. There is a short clip on YouTube that gives a little of the flavor of the movie.

  7. Laura - I hope you get a chance to see this movie. I highly recommend it!


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