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"Against Your Will" Screening and Q&A with Director Assaf Banitt

  • Tailgators 3760 West Dempster Street Skokie, IL, 60076 United States (map)

“Against Your Will” tells the story of Gilles and Esther Alexandre, a couple from a religious Kibbutz, who struggle with the loss of two sons who died by suicide during their military service. The family encounters condemnation by the religious kibbutz in which they live, which regards suicide as a sin and a source of shame, and expects the grieving parents to swallow their pain. The Alexandres refuse to succumb: they launch a public campaign to reshape Jewish Orthodoxy’s discourse on suicide.

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Articles and reviews

"A complex and compassionate film that tackles the delicate subject of suicide regarded as taboo by the religious community, and explores the quest of bereaved parents from multiple viewpoints, through the use of economical storytelling and a tight structure.”(Jury’s statement, Docaviv 2015)

"Powerful and inspirational" (From a review of the film in Yedio'th Ahronoth)

"A rare, amazing Document" (From a review of the film in Saloona -

 "A public salute and thank you to... for showing Against Your Will last night... (we) were treated to an amazing documentary film that was highly enough esteemed in Israel to be shown prime time on Saturday night on national TV.  This was Israel at its very best in a certain kind of way - dealing honestly and sensitively with a painful topic, suicide... I hope this film will be made available after this...  It deals with a very difficult topic and touches en passant on other topics at the heart of Israel's culture.  Real gripping cinema." (Private mail, sent after a screening in the States).

About the Director:

Assaf Banitt is a young documentary director, whose debut film "Against Your Will" premiered in the 2015 DOCAVIV festival in Israel, where it received the jury mention award. After screenings in cinemas around Israel, the film was shown on national TV and was critically acclaimed. The film also participated in the 2016 Santa Barbara International Film Festival, as a part of the "Social Justice" competition.

Banitt is also an editor of documentary films; The last film he edited, "Family Matters", directed by Noa Roth, won the Audience Favorite award in Docaviv 2015 and was nominated for the best editing award for documentary feature in the 2015 Woodstock film festival.

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