Fill the Void
Directed by Rama Burshtein
Cornerhouse, 22 December 2013
At root, a film about moral choice – if love be a matter of choice rather than destiny.
It is set in a Hasidic community, convincingly drawn. The question is whether, when her elder sister dies while giving birth, Shira should marry the widower. There is pressure for her to do so but she must make up her own mind. This community has apparently a formal system of match-making, even so marriage must be a free choice and done for the right reasons.
The film has a slow, measured pace yet one’s attention never wavers. Rather, one relishes the film’s subtlety and the opportunity to become engrossed in diverse social machinations and the characters’ several concerns. To the very end, one is uncertain whether the right choice has been made.
Of particular note is Irit Sheleg’s performance as Rivka, a fierce matriarch.