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Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Movie
It is VERY hard to make a film where the scene virtually never changes. The only one I think of is Alfred Hitchcock's, Lifeboat, about downed pilots in WW2 and floating in the ocean. In that movie, the scene seldom changed and it was a character study of the boat's occupants. Many movies have copied it since 1943. In Gett, it is much the same in this gripping two hour film with English subtitles.
What makes it gripping is the dialogue, it is much like a drama on stage that continues to make you wonder what will happen in this seemingly simple divorce, Israeli-style, and how it will end. It is entirely in an Israeli courtroom with a panel of three judges. The film is mesmerizing, you will not lose interest unless you are a shallow person. How a divorce (Gett) occurs in Israel is just alien to Americans, is just stupid, makes no sense and is in the hands of the husband to grant or not grant it. Nothing else seems to matter. That is the the thread throughout the film, the woman does not love the man because he is emotionless etc., yet the man simply refused to grant her a divorce. Why, why, why? That is the question any viewer will have for a good 110 minutes of this 120 min film. The viewer is taken through many unbelievable scenes in dialogue and emotion up until that time. The husband truly is a blank slate and the frustrates not only his wife and attorney but the judges.
This is no simple divorce, American style, and over within a year, but an epic five year proceeding! The end of a 30-year marriage that was loveless, for the most part, involves adult kids. As the film action stays focused on the wife, husband, attorney's, and judges, their reactions, emotion, accusations infer that the wife and her attorney may be in an relationship. Yet, it is the husband who simply refuses to grant a woman who despises him, hates him, and has moved on in her mind, a divorce, that only he can under Israeli law. At times, the film is a comedy has events unfold and even the judges are getting pissed at this obstinate man trying hold on out of fear of loss.
During the movie, any non-Israeli audience will continue to have one thought about this irrational system: unbelievable! What else is going to happen? The film shows the fallacy of the Israeli divorce law where women are treated as property because only the man can grant a divorce, not the Court! I found myself laughing and astonished about this concept. Of course, emotions do explode at times, as well as, touching scenes showing a remnant of a love. Viviane after two years of nonsense explodes and yells: "Give the goddamn divorce. I don't love him or live with him. In America, this would already be done!"
She still have three more years in court! How does it end? You know, that was what I kept thinking as I was glued to this movie. I thought all sorts of things. Then, the husband pulls the wife aside outside the courtroom. He tells her he will grant a divorce on only one condition. She looks at him in disbelief, grins, pauses, and says, "Okay, that's it?". The reason is so typical of many men in patriarchal societies and others. Its their last hold of power over their woman that, of course, an illusion.
But, it makes them feel better. You have to see the movie. Amazing.