I want this movie to come out so badly I cannot explain it to you.  Actually, I can: I’ve watched the trailer about ten times, I look up the showtimes on Google at least once a week (“No upcoming showtimes in your area”) and I even emailed the distribution company to ask when it was coming out in New York, all to no avail.  Among other flicks, Fill the Void was the subject of an excellent NY Times article about Haredi women filmmakers some months back.  A bit about the director from that piece, which can be read in its entirety here:

“Films for and by Haredi women were relatively unknown outside this tightknit faction until the director Rama Burshtein unveiled her feature Fill the Void at the Venice Film Festival last month. The film, which earned the ingénue Hadas Yaron a best-actress honor there and later played the New York Film Festival, was praised by critics, who noted that Ms. Burshtein’s technical expertise belied her sparse résumé.*

“In fact, while Fill the Void was Ms. Burshtein’s first film for secular as well as religious viewers, she has spent nearly two decades making movies for the women of her sect — films featuring only actresses and without violence, sex and swearing. And she wasn’t alone: Ultra-Orthodox women in Israel have been making movies for some time now — about six a year — according to strict Haredi rules: Men and women may never be shown together on screen; plotlines considered subversive or counter to Haredi beliefs are forbidden; and when the credits roll, the audience must have a lesson or moral to take home. The rules also mean that audiences are strictly segregated by sex.”

My question for Mrs. Burshtein –– or maybe rabbinical authorities –– is how can a Haredi woman make a film “for secular audiences”?  Wouldn’t that require her to do a whole host of immodest things, or to promote improper thinking generally?  Or does it not really matter what us heathens do?  (If you read this, RB –– though I doubt you have a Google alert for your name –– you can email Siobhan at to set up a Skype conference call.)


*Editor’s note: Hadas Yaron is sooooo pretty!

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