I saw Fill the Void back in September at the Toronto Film Festival. It’s been making its way around the country on the film festival circuit before opening in limited release this weekend.
It is the story of Shira a very devout Hasidic girl in Israel who is arriving at the point of her life where she will be set up to be married. This is a community where people are put together by a matchmaker. They have a couple of chaste meetings (if they are lucky) and then a decision is made if they are compatible. This is not about love. This is about having babies and continuing the Jewish people. This is exactly what Shira dreams of doing. She dreams of doing this because this is what she knows, this is what she is told, and this is what is expected of her.
Writer/director Rama Burshtein loves this world and you can tell that by how she expresses the beauty in the rituals and the religion. For those who don’t believe in the same way, there will be many questions, especially about the role of women.
Ms. Burshtein is touted as the first Orthodox woman to direct a movie in Israel. That in itself is an accomplishment. In her debut as a director she shows great promise and is able to elicit a beautiful performance from lead actress Hadas Yaron who has won many deserved accolades on the festival circuit. What Burstein does, and what I think she really wanted to do, was to give us a window into a very seldom seen world in all its glory and regalia. She accomplishes that with beauty and grace.