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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Religion > Marriage > Divorce > Oppression > Israel > Comedy > Coming Of Age > Teens > British > Thril > GETT: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem (2014/Music Box Films DVD)/Me Without You (2001)/Roman De Gare (2006 aka Crossed Lines/First Run DVDs)/Soldate Jeannette (2013 aka Soldier Jane/Indiepix DVD)

GETT: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem (2014/Music Box Films DVD)/Me Without You (2001)/Roman De Gare (2006 aka Crossed Lines/First Run DVDs)/Soldate Jeannette (2013 aka Soldier Jane/Indiepix DVD)

Picture: C+/C/C/C+ Sound: C+/C+/C+/C Extras: B-/D/D/C Films: B/C/C+/C

Here's a look at the latest foreign film releases....

Ronit & Shlomi Elkabetz's GETT: The Trial Of Viviane Amsalem (2014) is a strong drama about a woman having extreme difficulty in getting a divorce (or GETT) from her thankless husband because the court is geared towards keeping couples together in Israel under any and all circumstances, which is a tendency of many religions, but the script here takes the problems to their absurd extremes to show just how bad this can be without vilifying anyone much. Thus, no one ever becomes a cartoon.

The performances are impressive, this was not an easy film to make and all was very convincing as all involved are making some big statements (a few truth to power moments included) and what is also a dilemma for the future of all religions as women continue to ascend to prominence in various societies no matter what male-dominated power structures want to push them back. I'm sure I even missed a few vital points in all this, but no stone is left unturned and I was ultimately impressed by what all are saying here. This one is definitely worth a look and stars Ronit Elkabetz, Simon Abkarian, Menasch Noy and Sasson Gabay.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, while the DVD adds a Making Of featurette, Cinema Of GETT featurette, audio-only PRX radio interview (with chapters), 2015 Golden Globes Symposium on the film and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Sandra Goldbacher's Me Without You (2001) is supposed to be a realistic look at two female teen friends growing up in 1980s England with its 'realism' and all, but instead, it is sloppy (down to the bad opening of the end credits), all over the place and not being very memorable. It is the New Wave years of the New Romantics and Thatcher, but it never totally feels like it or convinced me despite sometimes looking like it.

Since young Michelle Williams and Anna Friel play the gals, this is somewhat of a curio, but even some chemistry they have, plus support from Kyle MacLachlan and Trudie Styler cannot change the flatness of the screenplay. Thus, this is only for the super curious.

There are no extras.

Claude Lelouch's Roman De Gare (2006 aka Crossed Lines) is supposed to be a thriller from the noted director, but I am not a big fan of his and this is no exception, with a crime novelist (Fanny Ardant) looking for the subject and material for her next novel. As 'luck' would have it, a serial killer is on the loose and she has a dark secret about her work. In all this, the script comes close to making this smug and a little banal, but the supporting cast including Dominique Pinon could have overcome that. However, it is so trite about things that it soon becomes too contrived and a few fancy shots suddenly become the highlight. For Lelouch fans only.

There are no extras.

Daniel Hoesl's Soldate Jeannette (2013) is the story of Fanni (Johanna Orsini-Rosenberg), who is in financial trouble among other things and is acting strangely in the face of what are crisis, like losing the place she has lived in for so long. Slowly, we start to see there is a larger problem, not just apathy as if she does not care, but that she is purposely allowing these bad things to happen, then her behavior becomes more erratic and it turns out she wants this trouble.

She starts lying pathologically, has some things to hide and seems to be severing herself from civilization for some odd reason in odd ways. Whether this German film is supposed to be proto-feminist, existentialist or a tale on the Fassbinder mode of an independent female discourse in the face of an oppressive male-geared society in some way is intended, we have seen too much of

this before and done better (and not just by Fassbinder). A few moments work, but it did not add up to as much as I had hoped by the end.

I give the script credit for its quiet moments, but

Extras include an Interview piece and two short films: The Madness Of The Day and Crime Don't Pay (Stupid).

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on GETT and You, plus anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Roman and Soldate have some softness in their playback, sometimes offset by better color quality, but You and Roman are softer still throughout unfortunately.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Roman and Soldate are not bad, but these are often dialogue-based, so the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on GETT can compete with them easily, but the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on You is smaller and a little compressed.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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