Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

As demonstrated by this hard-hitting courtroom drama, the fine Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz (Late Marriage, The Band’s Visit) is also a formidable writer-director. She plays a hairdresser, long separated from a husband who refuses to grant her a divorce (known in Hebrew as a gett), and the rabbinical court to which she must appeal observes a strict Orthodox code that overwhelmingly favors men over women. Though the trial drags on for years, the action never leaves the courthouse (it barely even leaves the courtroom). One feels the oppressiveness of Israeli domestic law, but how one is supposed to feel about the subjects isn’t clear; in Brechtian fashion, Elkabetz develops the characters almost exclusively through their own self-conscious rhetoric, which forces the viewer to treat each new revelation as a piece of evidence. Elkabetz’s brother, Shlomi Elkabetz, cowrote and codirected. In subtitled French and Hebrew.