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Family and freedom collide in ‘Fill the Void’

From left: Irit Sheleg, Hadas Yaron, Hila Feldman, and Razia Israeli in Rama Burshtein’s “Fill the Void.”
From left: Irit Sheleg, Hadas Yaron, Hila Feldman, and Razia Israeli in Rama Burshtein’s “Fill the Void.”Karin Bar/Sony Pictures Classics

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FILL THE VOID

Films tend to confirm, not confront, stereotypes. Not so Israeli director Rama Burshtein’s exquisitely acted, radiantly shot, and delicately nuanced “Fill the Void,” a melodrama set in the ultra-Orthodox Haredi Jewish community of Tel Aviv. By bringing to life complex and sympathetic characters in a precisely observed setting and social framework, and by presenting that isolated world as a microcosm, Burshtein has achieved a gripping film without victims or villains, an ambiguous tragedy drawing on universal themes of love and loss, self-sacrifice and self-preservation.

First comes love. In a supermarket, 18-year-old Shira (Hadas Yaron), attended by her mother, Rivka (Irit Sheleg), spies on the young man whom she has to marry.

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