Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Jason goes to Jewfest South for GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANNE AMSALEM

So after the Creature Features show in Niles, I had to race down to the AMC Saratoga for the last movie of the night at SVJFF.

Based on a true story, in order to understand this movie you have to know a little bit about orthodox Jewish divorce law. I might recommend SENTENCED TO MARRIAGE, which played at SVJFF back in 2007. The upshot is in order to get divorced, the man must give the woman a Gett--basically a written document of divorce. And if he doesn't, they aren't divorced. And there's not a whole lot the courts can do if he refuses (3,000 years ago the solution was to beat the crap out of him until he complied. That's been dropped as barbaric, but the whole law of the Gett has not.) I could have sworn this movie was based on a true story, but I haven't found confirmation of that. In any case, it can certainly be based on the fact that there are occasionally women trapped in loveless marriages who are unable to convince their husbands to divorce. And that's the case with Viviane, who already lives away from her husband, who makes her own living as a hairdresser, and who has to fight for 3 years with her husband's intransigence (it's months before he even agrees to show up in court) and then a humiliating process that is stacked against her, humiliates her, questions her character, tries to force her to stay with him, and in the end...has no power to force him to comply when they actually do rule for her. For a drama that is all in a courtroom with people talking, there's no way it should be as dramatic, gripping, and moving as it is. But it is, that's the magic of a good story well told.

Running Time: 115 minutes
My Total Minutes: 407,438

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