“Fill the Void,” an Israeli film which provides an intimate look inside the private world of Tel Aviv’s Hasidic community, on Friday won seven prizes at the Ophir Awards ceremony, known as the Israeli Oscars.
Female ultra-Orthodox director Rema Burshtein’s award-winning film snagged the Ophir Awards for best film, best director, best screenplay, best actress, best supporting actress and more, securing the film’s position as Israel’s entry at the prestigious Oscars.
A Hasidic Jew herself, Burshtein said she wanted to create a portrait of family life within the community without presenting it in conflict with the secular world.
“The Orthodox world is so interesting it does not need to cope with the secular,” Burshtein told a news conference earlier this month. “It can be very interesting and the drama can be very strong inside.”
The film is about an 18-year-old girl named Shira who struggles with whether she wants to marry her brother-in-law, Yochay, after her sister Esther dies giving birth. The decision is all Shira’s, despite the strict formality within the community, and the movie ultimately is a story about facing a difficult decision and becoming a woman.
“It’s all about emotions and choices and what leads you to do what you do,” said actress Hadas Yaron, who played Shira. “I’m also young. But Shira is different from me because she is not familiar with all these feelings she experiences for the first time.”
In September, Yaron was the Volpi Cup for best actress at the prestigious the 69th Venice Film Festival for her role in Burshtein’s film.