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Top 200 Most Anticipated Films for 2014: #186. Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz’s The Trial

The Trial

Director: Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz
Writers: Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz
Producers: ELZEVIR & Cie’s Sandrine Brauer, Marie Masmonteil, Denis Carot, RIVA film’s Michael Eckelt & DBG Films’ Schlomi Elkabetz
U.S. Distributor: Rights available
Cast: Simon Abkarian, Ronit Elkabetz, Sasson Gabai

Brother and sister duo Ronit and Shlomi Elkabetz complete the film trilogy they began back in 2004 with To Take a Wife, followed by 2008’s 7 Days, where we follow the relationship of Viviane and Eliahou. The third installment’s borrowing of Kafka’s most famed novel appears to be on purpose. If you’re unfamiliar with the previous titles, Ronit Elkabetz is one of Israel’s most famed actresses and many know her for an award winning turn in 2004’s Or, which won the Critics Week Grand Prize and Golden Camera at Cannes (but it’s a good time to catch up on the first two if you haven’t seen them).

Gist: In Israel, the rabbinic tribunal is the only juridical authority for divorce but it can’t force a man to divorce from his wife. For divorce to be pronounced, the total and absolute consent must be given by the husband. The wife is tied and bound to her husband’s will. Viviane, the heroine of To Take a Wife and Seven Days, asked for the divorce three years ago. During that time, Elihayu has refused to go to the tribunal’s convocations. When he finally accepts, he keeps refusing his wife’s demand and stops her from starting a new life. According to the Jewish law, the tribunal and Viviane’s lawyer must have a valuable reason for making the husband accept the divorce. The trial takes place during the years Viviane must wait. The exhausting and absurd audiences are succeeding in the rabbinic tribunal, creating a Kafkaesque spectacle, almost comical, where the accused has the verdict in his hands .

Release Date: Since 7 Days opened Critics Week in Cannes 2008, we’re expecting this to show up on a sidebar, perhaps graduating to Un Certain Regard.

[related]Top 200 Most Anticipated Films of 2014[/related]

Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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