Fill The Void
A family crisis puts a young woman in a difficult position in this drama from Israeli filmmaker Rama Burshtein. Esther (Renana Raz) is the daughter of an Orthodox Rabbi who follows her father’s faith, and she and her husband Yochay (Yiftach Klein) are happy to soon be welcoming their first child into the world. Joy turns to sorrow when Esther dies in childbirth; Yochay is devastated, and despite their own heartache, her mother Rivka (Irit Sheleg) and younger sister Shira (Hadas Yaron) step forward to help the widower look after his newborn son. Esther’s father Rabbi Aharon (Chaim Sharir) counsels Yochay that it would be best for him and his young son if he remarried as soon as he feels capable, but finding a fit mother is no simple task. Rivka comes up with what she feels is a perfect solution — an arranged marriage between Yochay and Shira, who has already grown fond of the baby. Yochay isn’t sure he’s comfortable with wedding his sister-in-law, and Shira feels no better about it, preferring to save herself for a virgin like herself, but the demands of her family may weigh more strongly than her own desires. Lemale et ha’chalal (aka Fill the Void) received its American premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.