Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lemon Tree: a bitter sweet film


Lemon Tree is another foreign languages film which is well worth the cinema trip.

According to Eran Riklis, the Israeli director,

Lemon Tree is a simple story about people who find themselves fighting over matters that could have been resolved quite easily if they would just listen to each other.

...this is really a film about solitude as it is reflected in the lives of two women ...
Hiam Abbass plays Salma Zidane, a Palestinian woman who fights to keep her lemon grove from destruction by Israeli security because it is next to the Defence Minister's house. Her performance is even stronger than her role in The Visitor. Rona Lipaz gives an equally sensitive performance as the Minister's alienated wife Mira Navon. Both neighbours have children in the United States, one at Georgetown University and the other is a kitchen-hand planning to study IT. Not hard to guess which is which.

The film has its male villains, represented by the politician Israel Navon (Doron Tovory) and the local Palestinian power-broker Abu Camal (Makram Khoury). However, there are several sensitive male charactisations: the lawyer Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman), Salma's surrogate uncle and fellow lemon cultivator (Tarik Copty) and the Israeli guard Quickie (Danny Leshman).

The film is about the things that unite as well as those which have created walls, both literal and figurative, in the Middle East. Make sure you see Lemon Tree if you possibly can.


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