All films written and directed by siblings Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz. With casts that include Israeli mega-stars Ronit Elkabetz, Simon Abkarian, Sasson Gabai, Menashe Noy, Yael Abecassis, Moshe Ivgy and Alon Aboutboul. In French, Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles.
4:00 p.m. – To Take a Wife
97 minutes. 2004. World premiere, Venice Film Festival.
Before we hear her speak, we hear the voices of the men—Viviane Amsalem’s husband and relatives, “You must learn how to give up.” They tell this beleaguered hairdresser and mother of four that without marriage she has no worth, no future. And with a mesmerizing performance by Ronit Elkabetz, Viviane’s story unfolds as she desperately longs for a life where she might be fully visible and valued and loved.
6:30 p.m. – Shiva
103 minutes. 2008. Official selection, Jerusalem FF.
Fast forward a decade—during the Gulf War. Viviane is separated from her husband Elisha. But the whole extended family has come together to sit shiva for one of Vivian’s brothers who died suddenly. As the shiva continues, family resentments bubble to the surface.
8:45 p.m. – Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem
115 minutes. 2014. Ophir Award for Best Film. Golden Globe nomination.
In Israel, a woman cannot get a gett (divorce decree) without her husband’s consent. Still separated and desperate to be released from her loveless marriage, we find Viviane embroiled in a 5-year dispute presided over by a panel of rabbis. The proceedings raise deep questions about love, marriage and personal rights as her husband stalls the process at every turn. Ronit Elkabetz (Viviane) stuns with her luminous, performance as she defends her dignity and fights for freedom.