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211 Ratings

Fill the Void

Lemale et ha'halal

Directed by Rama Burshtein
Israel, 2012


With her first dramatic feature, writer-director Rama Burshtein has made a compelling, disconcerting view of Israel’s orthodox Hassidic community from the inside, where an 18-year-old girl is pressured to marry her deceased sister’s husband following her death in childbirth.

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Fill the Void Directed by Rama Burshtein

Awards & Festivals

Venice Film Festival

2012 | 2 wins including: Best Actress

2012 | Special Mention: SIGNIS Award

2012 | Honorable Mention: SIGNIS Award

Independent Spirit Awards

2013 | 2 nominations including: Best First Feature

It’s missing the point to complain that Fill the Void is conservative; the terms of its argument are so far outside familiar western social norms that the film registers as altogether radical in its gentle, elegantly expressed otherness. To establish this hermetic social world, largely restricted to interiors, Burshtein and DP Asaf Sudri create a distinctive and seductive visual style that emphasises intimacy: shallow focus, low angles, highly composed groupings.
December 13, 2013
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In the narrow space between her desire to placate and her nascent understanding that this decision is for life, Yeron expresses a world of terror. Yet a convenient turn of events heads off this psychological drama turning this microcosmic family piece into something that feels like the fulfilment of an idealistic agenda.
December 12, 2013
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The mise-en-scene of this Israeli drama is appropriately suffocating: the camera rarely moves, the focus is often shallow, and there’s little intimation of the world outside the frame. As a result none of the religious rituals feels particularly spiritual, and even the nominally happy ending fails to alleviate the oppressive tone.
June 13, 2013
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