The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Israeli film 'Fill the Void' offers intimate look inside Tel Aviv's Hasidic community

  • Print

VENICE, Italy - Israeli director Rama Burshtein provides an intimate look inside the private world of Tel Aviv's Hasidic community in the film "Fill the Void," which premiered this weekend in competition at the Venice Film Festival.

A Hasidic Jew herself, Burshtein said she wanted to create a portrait of family life within the community without presenting it in conflict with the secular world.

"The Orthodox world is so interesting it does not need to cope with the secular," Burshtein told a news conference Sunday. "It can be very interesting and the drama can be very strong inside."

The film is about an 18-year-old girl named Shira who struggles with whether she wants to marry her brother-in-law, Yochay, after her sister Esther dies giving birth. The decision is all Shira's, despite the strict formality within the community, and the movie ultimately is a story about facing a difficult decision and becoming a woman.

"It's all about emotions and choices and what leads you to do what you do," said actress Hadas Yaron, who played Shira. "I'm also young. But Shira is different from me because she is not familiar with all these feelings she experiences for the first time."

The movie shows intimate rituals of the Hasidic community, from Esther's funeral to her infant son's circumcision ceremony immediately after, Sabbath dinner and the workings of the matchmaker, who helps broker marriages as girls reach Shira's age.

The community, while residing inside the bustling and secular city of Tel Aviv, is very self-contained. In one scene, as the men study, someone gets up to close the windows that allow sounds of secular Tel Aviv to drift inside.

"This moment in the movie really gives the idea of being in the environment," said Yiftach Klein, who plays the brother-in-law Yochay.

Burshein, 45, was born in New York and graduated from film school in Jerusalem in 1994. During that period, she became deeply religious. She has since been making films within the Orthodox community to help promote self-expression.

"I love this world. I chose this world. I was not born to this world," she said.

She said, however, that the Hasidic world did not appear inviting when she first contemplated it from the outside 20 years ago.

"Part of that was because how I thought they saw women," she said. Once inside, however, she said she found she liked traditional roles between men and women.

"I love my role as a woman. I feel it is true. I chose it. It doesn't stop me from doing films, but the way I see the home, between a man and a woman, I love it like this. It is more sexy."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Bartley Kives on 5 obstacles for new mayor and city council

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE.DEAL@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 100615 - Tuesday, June 15th, 2010 The Mane Attraction - Lions are back at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Xerxes a 3-year-old male African Lion rests in the shade of a tree in his new enclosure at the old Giant Panda building.  MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Will you get out and vote for a new mayor and council?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google