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Fill the Void

Lemale et ha’chalal

A masterpiece of forbidden love set in the unlikeliest of surroundings in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the film starts at the box office at each venue.


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  • Director-Screenwriter Rama Burshtein
  • Producer Assaf Amir
  • With Hadas Yaron, Yiftach Klein, Irit Sheleg
  • Israel 2012
  • 90 mins
  • Sales The Match Factory

Set in an Orthodox Hassidic community in Tel Aviv, this riveting debut feature tells the story of eighteen-year-old Shira, the youngest daughter of a deeply religious family who is about to be married off in a promising match to a young man she does not know. When an unexpected death occurs, grief engulfs the family and Shira’s impending liaison is postponed. Caught between an overwhelming sense of familial responsibility and the unfamiliar sensation of romantic yearning, Shira faces a choice that will ultimately define her future. Director Rama Burshtein draws on her own knowledge of Orthodox practice and its rituals, imbuing this singular film with great authenticity especially in her attention to gender division within the community and the relationships between the female protagonists. The visual design oscillates between intimate and suffocating, with cinematographer Asaf Sudry (Beaufort) keeping the camera close to the actors and tightly framed, while art director Ori Aminov adopts a studied, muted palette. Hadas Yaron’s mesmerising performance gives full expression to Shira’s struggle between moral, ethical and emotional truth, her suspended state of uncertainty providing the film with its dramatic tension and continuing to reverberate in the indelible final image.
Clare Stewart

Director statement

Love and relationships form the main object of my interests. To be honest, careerism, independence, and self-fulfilment are less important to me than love, my husband and my family. What drew me to the world of the Jewish faith was its approach to decoding the enigma of relationships between men and women. This process stunned me. Fill the Void tells a love story based on the spirit. It resembles the experience and feeling of an early love, which resides only in the heart, and is based on nothing reasonable. The humming of the heart towards another, combined with a desire that is consciously restrained, is the winning formula for my heart in seeking long-lasting delight.
Rama Burshtein

Director biography

Born in New York in 1967, she graduated from the Sam Spiegel Film and Television School in Jerusalem in 1994. During those years Rama became deeply religious and upon her graduation she dedicated herself to promoting film as a tool for self expression in the orthodox community. Rama wrote, directed and produced short films purely for the orthodox community, some of them for women only. She was also teaching directing and scriptwriting in various film and television institutions within the orthodox community, including Ma’ale Film School, Yad Benjamin Film School for Woman and Ulpena Arts School, Jerusalem. Fill the Void is her first feature film.

Filmography

2012 Lemale et ha’chalal (Fill the Void)

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