Friday, June 3, 2011

Lemon Tree (2008) NR - 3½ Stars

Inspired by a true event in the Palestinian West Bank, here's a human interest story with many layers to it. It's a story about division between the Palestinians and Israelis, the power struggle between the "have and the have nots", politics vs. humanity and an invisible bond that is formed between two women.

Selma, 45, has been a widow for over 10 years and her children are attending to their own lives, neglecting their mother's love. When the defense minister moves in next door, she faced with loosing everything dear to her in the name of politics. A slow paced movie, it's a good insight into the traditional living in Palestinian West Bank. Hiam Abbass is very good in her role and you embrace her way of life. Though I would have liked a better ending, it's a good little movie for those who seek compassion for the rest of the world.

Salma Zidane (Hiam Abbass), lives in a meager home within a lemon grove her great grand parents started. At a young age she lost her mother leaving Selma to be raised by her adoring father. After his death, her life's work is to tend to the grove stayed which is said to have the tastiest lemons around. But when Defense Minister Israel Navon (Doron Tavory), and his wife Mira Navon (Rona Lipaz-Michael), move in next door, Selma's treasured lemon grove now causes great conflict between the neighbors. Assumptions are the Defense Minister's home and life will be in jeopardy from anyone trying to sneak up to his property using the lemon grove for cover. His advisers decide their only recourse is to cut the grove to the ground, clearing their view.

As her children are content in their own lives and no one else to turn to, Selma hires and attorney, Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman), to help protect her lemon grove from destruction. But Selma is only a poor Palestinian woman, forced to do battle against a more powerful, male, political system she can not afford. Ziad vows his commitment to help Selma in her plight while also developing true feelings of love for her the two try to ignore. Even the Defense ministers wife, Mira, feels for Selma's situation. Already having lost two battles against the powerful judicial system, Selma's last chance is to be heard by the Supreme Court. As Mira becomes more bored over her husbands lack of attention, she joins in the cause to help support Selma salvaging her dream.

Awards Include:
2008 Awards of the Israeli Film Academy - Best Actress
2008 Berlin International Film Festival - Panorama Audience Award

Eran Riklis Productions (ERP), MACT Productions, Riva Filmproduktion GmbH
Director: Eran Riklis
Writers: Eran Riklis, Suha Arraf
Producers: Martine de Clermont-Tonnere, Michael Eckelt, Bettina Brokemper
I viewed 5/11

No comments: