Viviane, a fight for freedom

Some days ago I have seen the movie Gett, the trial of Viviane Ansalem, titled only Viviane for the Italian audience, written and directed by this intense and perfect Israeli Anna Magnani, Ronit Elkabetz and her brother Shlomi. Gett (a “gett” is a divorce document, obtainable in Israel only by going through a religious courts) is the third of a trilogy about this couple, but we, in Italy, hadn’t seen the first two movies, that leaves us with a lot of questions the movie never answered about their relationship.viviane

The plot is quite simple but very distressing, it brings us following the path of this Israeli woman, Viviane, while she tries, over and over, for five harrowing years to obtain her husband’s permission to divorce him.

I was totally impressed not by the 5 years of grueling wait for a divorce, because in Italy it is the minimum time in the event of divorce by mutual consent, but can reach even 10 years in the case of divorce without mutual consent in which the decision is taken by a court, but the lack of the freedom by the woman!

So, I have studied during these days and I discovered that today in Israel the marriage is governed by the religious law, regardless of the community which the spouses belong to, whether they are religious or completely laic. When a woman utters the ‘yes’ under the wedding canopy, she loses the “gett”, the right to divorce, because only the husband has the right to choose: the law gives an exorbitant power to the man!!

The rabbis claim to do everything possible to help, starting from the point that it is their sacred duty, to preserve a Jewish family. They are, therefore, reluctant to favor the desire of the individual (woman, in particular) to dissolve the marriage than the religious duty.
This is the beginning of Viviane’s via crucis, who for three years trying to get a divorce from her husband Elisha before the Jewish court: mission impossible! Elisha does not grant the consent, the judges take time, witnesses not solve the problem, even lawyers are unarmed…

So, what she can do? Do not give up, keep going, hearing after hearing, failure after failure, because for Viviane is a matter of life or death, it is a matter of freedom! The desire to divorce of this woman is a threat to the established order, she is a danger to the rabbis in their personal capacity and to all the Jewish system.

She fights for her right to be free, she yells!

A memorable portrait of transparent, strong, determined, modern woman; in the background a modern and democratic country that conceals an archaic mentality on this subject and does not provide a secular court on this subject.

This is the movie that will represent Israel at the Oscars: a really enlightened choice.

Israel always surprise me for its capacity of openness and dialogue.

About the Author
Francesca D'Esposito is an Italian project manager working for National Research Council ( and she is in love with Israel and its people.