“Fill the Void” puts a new spin on the dominating mother stereotype. The mother here goes to an unusual extreme to keep her family together: She wants her youngest daughter to marry her just widowed son-in-law.
But Mama Rivka (Irit Shelelg) has her reasons. Her eldest daughter, Esther (Renana Raz) died in childbirth leaving only grandchild, Mordechai, in the custody of his father, Yochay (Yiftach Klein). Yochay is considering taking the child and moving from Israel to Belgium, where a potential new wife awaits.
The loss of her eldest daughter and only grandchild is too much for Rivka. Her solution is to hook innocent 18- year-old daughter Shira (Hadas Yaron) up with Yochay and keep all in the family in hometown Tel Aviv. Who cares if Shira is promised to another young man she loves?
Promoted as the first feature film by an Orthodox Israeli woman, “Fill the Void” is writer-director Rama Burshtein’s debut full-length movie. While it’s an inside look at life in an Israeli Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) family, the soap-opera drama could be one in a Jane Austen novel, where the problem is, “Who will marry whom?”
The pressure is on poor Shira, who wants to please her mother, but is terribly conflicted every which way. She loves the baby, likes handsome Yochay, wants her own life with her intended, feels strange replacing her beautiful, but dead older sister.
With subtle elegant photography by Asaf Sudry, “Fill the Void” takes place in small rooms packed with people, highlighting the intimate intensity of this cloistered world.
During this summer of worn-out zombies and super heroes, “Fill the Void” supplies something missing in the movie world: Originality and excellence.
See it and fill your time with quality.