Israeli divorce film nominated for Golden Globe

An Israeli film that scrutinizes Israel’s divorce laws was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best foreign language film.

The selection of “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” by the brother-sister team of Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz, was announced Dec. 11 by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

The film, which stars Ronit Elkabetz in the title role, follows an Israeli woman in her five-year quest to obtain a Jewish legal divorce, or get, from her husband through the Israeli rabbinical court system. The husband’s persistent refusal leaves her stranded in legal limbo, because Jewish law dictates that he must consent to release her from the marriage.

Ronit Elkabetz in “Gett” photo/creative commons

The film is the third in a trilogy by the sibling writers and directors, following the 2004 film “To Take a Wife” and 2008’s “Shiva,” which focused on the same protagonists.

According to Variety, the movie’s success has spurred a movement to change the divorce laws depicted in the movie, which can leave women at the mercy of uncooperative husbands.

Variety reported that the administration of rabbinical courts in Israel planned to screen the movie at the annual meeting of the country’s rabbinical judges in February.

“We wrote Viviane’s story based on the very simple fact that still today in Israel a woman must get her husband’s consent if she wants a divorce,” said Ronit Elkabetz in response to the nomination, according to the Hollywood Reporter. “I am happy and proud that we have brought Viviane’s voice and struggle for freedom to the world. The film asks that women be allowed to live their lives with dignity and basic human rights.”

Also nominated in the category and getting early critical acclaim is Russia’s “Leviathan,” which draws on the Book of Job to depict a simple Russian worker who struggles against the repression of a corrupt regime.

The two other films nominated are Sweden’s “Force Majeure” and Estonia’s “Tangerines.” The winner will be announced Jan. 11.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will not announce its nominees for foreign film Oscars until Jan. 15, but it has already released a preliminary list of 10 short films selected from among 141 entries in that category.

Included is the Israeli film “Aya,” in which a young Israeli woman poses as a driver to pick up a Danish businessman at Ben-Gurion Airport. — jta