AJFF Remembers: Ronit Elkabetz

04/19/2016

Ronit Elkabetz, actor and filmmaker, passed away on April 19, 2016. She was 51. The filmmaker was a favorite of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, which screened 9 of her films. 

Sometimes referred to as Israel's Meryl Streep, Ronit Elkabetz was a standout figure in the world of Israeli cinema. Born in Beersheba in 1964 to a religious Moroccan Jewish family, she grew up in Kiryat Yam, the daughter of a hairdresser and a postal employee. Though her mother spoke both French and Arabic, her father insisted on speaking only Hebrew. Elkabetz was the oldest of four children, her younger siblings all brothers. Her younger brother Shlomi, became a director whom she worked with on their trilogy on the life of Viviane Amsalem, which screened at AJFF. She never studied acting and started her career as a model. She divided her time between her homes in Paris and Tel Aviv. She married architect Avner Yasharon in 2010. In 2015 she was selected to be the President of the Jury for the International Critics' Week section of the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Sadly, Elkabetz died following a battle with cancer on April 19, 2016. She is survived by her husband and their two children.

AJFF was proud to feature many of her works including those listed below:

7 DAYS (2008)
A portrait of a Moroccan family that gathers to mourn the sudden death of their brother. Living together again reveals many tensions and conflicts between family members. Amidst the tensions, the Gulf War rages in the background.

THE FLOOD (2010)
Featuring tour-de-force performances and lyrical imagery, the critically acclaimed Israeli drama centers on a troubled boy and his dysfunctional family as they struggle to stay afloat amidst crisis. 

GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM (2014)
An emotionally shackled Israeli woman seeks divorce from her suffocating spouse and archaic judges in Israel’s official submission for the Best Foreign Language Oscar.


THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (2009)
A drama about a young woman who claims she was the target of an anti-Semetic attack and the subsequent media sensation it creates.

JAFFA (2009)
In the city of Jaffa, a young girl plans to run away with her secret lover before a tragedy forever changes the course of their lives.

LATE MARRIAGE (2001)
As the parents of tradition-minded Georgian Jewish immigrants try to arrange a marriage for their son, they are unaware that he is secretly dating a 34-year-old divorcée.

TO TAKE A WIFE (2004)
An Orthodox Jewish woman desperately wants to leave her controlling husband.

TURN LEFT AT THE END OF THE WORLD (2004)
As a family from India moves in to a desert neighborhood in Southern Israel in the 1960's, the family's eldest daughter discovers friendship and romance with a local French girl.

ZION AND HIS BROTHER (2009)
A guilt-stricken Israeli boy re-examines his relationship with his brother after they both play a role in the death of an Ethiopian classmate.