Second Fiddle

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Fill The Void is an interesting film set in a Hasidic community.  It opens with eighteen-year-old Shira anxiously following her mother in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the matchmaker’s candidate for her future husband.  Early on a certain curiosity mixed with passivity on Shira’s part is established concerning choices for potential spouses.  However, the first meeting to gauge whether the pair is compatible doesn’t come to fruition as Shira’s sister passes away during her ninth month of pregnancy while the baby is spared.

After Shira’s mother learns of preliminary arrangements to match Yochay, Shira’s brother-in-law, with a Belgian woman from his childhood, panacea sets in out of fear of losing her newborn grandson.  Shira’s mother hatches a plan to intervene by offering Shira as a match instead.  Yochay bristles at the very thought of it on account of her youth, but he softens his objections provided Shira is comfortable with the arrangement. Horrified by the proposal, out of guilt Shira acquiesces to her mother’s wishes as a way to avoid adding to her mother’s sorrow.

During the ritual meeting that serves as courtship, Yochay attempts to break the ice and reveals some of his feelings for Shira. Through her questions, it becomes clear that what’s weighing on Shira is losing her innocence to someone older where she’d be sacrificing that first experience in marriage with a partner who is equally unfamiliar and thus an opportunity to share something special together.

Humiliated by the meeting, it becomes increasingly awkward for Yochay to be around Shira, while Shira’s mother seeks to salvage the situation.

From a visual perspective, the interior shots are tightly filled with people throughout the foreground and background, and the result is a feeling of intimacy that contributes to the story of portraying a close-knit community where marriage is arranged among elders around a table absent emotion that one normally associates from such a life-changing decision.

An area where Fill The Void fails to achieve its potential follows the meeting between Shira and Yochay midway through the film.  After Shira expresses her reservations and resignation, she doesn’t develop any further as a character. She endures her predicament, but there is nothing else that we learn about Shira, and that sense of unfulfillment seems unsatisfying.

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About An Unturned Stone

I want to share my thoughts on some of the obscure and not-so-obscure books, films, and the general arts I've seen or read recently or has caught my attention.
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