Fill the Void (DVD Review)2 Oct, 2013 By: Angelique Flores
Box Office $1.77 million
Rated ‘PG’ for mild thematic
elements and brief smoking.
In Hebrew with English subtitles.
Stars Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg.
Though faced with death, tragedy and sacrifice, love remains at the center of this Hasidic Jewish family’s life in the touching film Fill the Void.
So much hope and happiness is in store for 18-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron) and her family. The young Hasidic Jewish woman is thrilled to be matched up with a nice young man, while her older sister, Esther, is about to give birth to her first child.
But everything changes when Esther dies. While the family grieves over Esther’s death, Shira’s engagement is postponed and the family of her betrothed finally calls it off completely. At the same time, Esther’s husband, Yochay, is offered a match with a widow in Belgium.
Unable to bear having her grandson and Yochay move away, Shira’s mother, Rivka, proposes that Yochay and Shira marry. Some relatives feel Yochay is too old for Shira and that it’s unfair for the young woman to sacrifice having her own match and instead immediately step into her older sister’s role not only as a wife but also as a mother.
But goodhearted Shira, though unwilling to feign that marrying Yochay is her first choice, understands her duty to keep her family happy and together.
Writer and director Rama Burshtein, in her first feature film, gives a rare close look at the Hasidic community in this beautiful and emotionally complicated story.
The cast is likewise marvelous, conveying so much more than what the dialogue reveals.
The DVD comes with a Q&A with Yaron and Burshtein, who reveals in detail what happens in several scenes that were cut. This both adds more to the film’s story, but also takes away some of the ideas that Burshtein left to viewers’ imaginations. Also included is a commentary with Burshtein and Yaron.