The Complexity of Human Existence

POSTED — November 22, 2013 — Books and Reviews

I went to see the Israeli movie Fill The Void a little reluctantly. I wasn’t and am still not that interested in the lives of Haredi (“Ultra-Orthodox”) Jews in Israel. Though I grew up learning a fair amount about Judaism and synagogue I was never religious, and Haredi life has no appeal for me. I mostly went to see it because it would give me a chance to refresh my Hebrew.

I knew almost nothing about the movie and that’s always the best way to see a serious film, so I will say very little except to recommend it, and give nothing away.

The movie is about a girl in an overwhelming existential predicament, under immense and unfair pressure from all sides, where all sides means members of a tight extended family and community. Whatever she does will affect her entire life. As the movie progresses you witness her attempt to accommodate her aspirations to the complex structure of the world she’s been brought up in, never once questioning that world. Always serious about life and its obligations, she vacillates as she struggles, and finally seems to recognize something inside herself that provides a solution. But does it? The last scene of the movie leaves you and perhaps her still wondering.

I woke up the next morning thinking about the movie and its characters.

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