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Fill the Void 

A low-key drama about getting married set in an ultra-Orthodox Tel Aviv community

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Getting married is both straightforward and complex, in this low-key drama set among Tel Aviv's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. Eighteen-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron) is eager to be matched with a young man — the marriages are arranged within tight-knit families and approved by the rabbi. But when her older sister dies, leaving behind a widower and a baby, things become quietly complicated for all. Should Shira marry her brother-in-law, Yochay (Yiftach Klein), thereby keeping the family intact, and ensuring both are paired? And what of Shira's concerns and her desires for a "new" marriage?

Writer-director Rama Burshtein is Orthodox herself, so such interpersonal dynamics intertwined with religion in this insular world are handled with sensitivity. Her beautifully shot film explores the tension between the cloistered nature of the community, particularly for the women, and the expanding of Shira's life as she becomes an adult. Fill the Void is a meditatively paced but emotionally resonant character study — not just of Shira, but of her immediate family and that of her larger community, whose strictures define much of these people's emotional lives.

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