The co-director, co-writer and star of Golden Globe nominee Gett: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem, Ronit Elkabetz, passed away this morning following a battle with cancer. She was 51. Israel-born Elkabetz worked across both Israeli and French cinema, starring in such acclaimed films as André Techiné’s The Girl On The Train and Eran Kolirin’s The Band’s Visit for which she won a Best Actress Ophir Award from the Israeli Film Academy.
Gett was the last part of a trilogy about Viviane Amsalem and the last film Elkabetz directed and wrote — alongside brother Shlomi Elkabetz. It ran in Directors’ Fortnight in 2014 and scooped the Ophir as Best Film, a Globe nomination, and was Israel’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar race that year.
Elkabetz starred in all three films which began with 2004’s To Take A Wife and followed up with 7 Days in 2008. Each of the films deals with the distressed Amsalem who is stuck in a conservative marriage. Gett is the story of her five-year fight to acquire a writ of divorce (the Gett of the title), which can only be handed out by a rabbinical court, while her husband refuses to grant his consent even though they have been separated for years. Elkabetz told me at the time of the film’s awards run, “I have seen so many women in Israel in such a tragic situation.”
Also at the time, Elkabetz had been looking forward to possibly working in America, saying, “I think the time has come to know this place that I don’t know and don’t have a handle on. I really want to create something in the U.S.”
Most recently, as an actress who also worked in television, she appeared in French miniseries Trepalium for Arté.