Oscars: Israel Nominates 'Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem' in Foreign-Language Category

Courtesy of Music Box Films
'Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem'

The film takes place entirely in a Rabbinical courtroom where a wife is begging her husband to grant her a divorce

Marital courtroom drama Gett, the Trial of Viviane Amsalem will represent Israel in its bid for a best foreign-language film nomination at the 2015 Oscars.

The film takes place entirely in a Rabbinical courtroom where a wife is begging her husband to grant her a divorce, in a story that time-travels over several years. It has already won two Ophir Awards from the Israeli Academy of Film and Television for best film and best supporting actor for Sasson Gabai, in a ceremony that just concluded in the city of Ashdod.

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Directed by siblings Shlomi Elkabetz and Ronit Elkabetz, Gett sees the latter reprising her role of Viviane, a woman trapped in a loveless marriage, which she ferociously tries to get out of in this final part of a film trilogy that started with 2004's To Take a Wife and 2008's 7 Days. The movie was praised for exposing the religious judicial procedure in Israel that restricts the authority of granting a Jewish-law divorce in the hands of rabbi judges — rather than by judges in civil courts — who must decide upon a justified cause to dissolve the marriage in case the husband refuses to release his wife and "permit" her to other men.

Gett premiered as an official selection at the Directors' Fortnight Feature Competition in Cannes and earlier this month was screened as part of the Contemporary World Speakers program at the Toronto Film Festival. At the Jerusalem Film Festival in July, it won three awards, including best Israeli film and Audience Favorite Award. Music Box Films picked up U.S. rights for the film in May.

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Gett's ultimate win, perceived by local experts as Israel's best shot at an Academy Award nomination, was almost overshadowed by the night's big winner, Talya Lavie's Zero Motivation, which took home six Ophir Awards. Earlier this year, the dark comedy about young female soldiers in a remote Israeli desert base won for best narrative feature at the Tribeca Film Festival, with Lavie winning the Nora Ephron Prize for a female filmmaker.

This is Israel's 47th year vying for an Academy Award, having been nominated 10 times before but never winning in the best foreign-language film category. The holy land's previously nominated film was director Joseph Cedar's Footnote in 2011.