The Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem | Screen | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

The Gett: The Trial of Viviane Ansalem

A courtroom drama that lays bare the inequities Israeli woman seeking a divorce can face

This Israeli film from Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz is the very essence of a courtroom drama: It takes place only in a bare municipal room, and is comprised only of testimony. The case: A woman, Viviane (Ronit Elkabetz), seeks a divorce (gett), a release from her loveless marriage, which can be granted only with the consent of the husband and the approval of rabbinical judges. (There is no civil divorce.) Since the husband (Simon Abkarian) refuses, witnesses are called, and the trial grinds on. On one hand, Gett is the dissection of a marriage, where incompatibility has bred contempt; on the other, it's a searing indictment of a male-dominated, religious-based state institution that compromises the agency of women's lives. As expected, Viviane rarely speaks in her defense, but as portrayed by Elkabetz, her contempt and anger is a constant silent scream.