8 items from 2013
How affected you are by the closing scenes of "Zaytoun" may depend on your pre-existing knowledge of the Lebanese Civil War and the Israeli incursion in the country. Nothing’s spelled out in "Zaytoun" other than pointing out the date and location -- Beirut, 1982 -- but that would place the events depicted in the film shortly before the Sabra and Shatila massacre so brutally recalled in 2008’s “Waltz With Bashir.” It’s not something that directly impacts upon the story told on screen, but that the film assumes knowledge of will fundamentally affect the emotional impact its final act carries for different viewers. Eran Riklis’ film begins with the focus on 12-year-old Fahed (Abdallah El Akal) – a Palestinian boy living in a Beirut refugee camp. His contempt for Israel is intensified after his father is killed in an air attack (realized with extremely dated special effects), and so when an »
- Joe Cunningham
For anyone itching to see Stephen Dorff portray an Israeli Pow, your opportunity has finally arrived. Zaytoun follows Dorff's Yoni, an Israeli pilot imprisoned by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (Plo) in 1982 Beirut. In captivity he befriends Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), a fast-talking 12-year-old refugee and one of the Plo's newly recruited child soldiers. After his father is killed, Fahed frees Yoni in the hopes of a mutually beneficial trip to the Israeli border, Yoni seeking homeland safety and Fahed an unmapped family home to plant one of his father's trees. Alternating abruptly between road-trip comedy and war-through-a-child's-eyes melodrama, the film's tonal inconsistency prevents the story from gelling; Dorff's awful accent may also have something to do with it. Th »
Title: Zaytoun Strand Releasing Director: Eran Riklis Screenwriter: Jader Rizq Cast: Stephen Dorff, Abdallah El Akal, Alice Taglioni, Loai Nofi, Ali Suliman, Ashraf Barhom Screened at: Review 2, NYC, 9/3/13 Opens: September 20, 2013 The family that pees together, stays together, or at least that’s what the two lead persons in Eran Riklis’s “Zaytoun” have demonstrated. Though the family in this case is just two people and only distant cousins, when they simultaneously water the dry landscape in the sticks of Lebanon, their bonding is assured. The film features a remarkable performance from the fifteen-year-old Abdalla El Akal as Fahed a twelve-year-old Palestinian refugee in an unhappy camp in Lebanon. [ Read More ]
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- Harvey Karten
After premiering at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Eran Riklis‘ Zaytoun is finally making its way to U.S. theaters this fall. The film centers on an Israeli fighter pilot played by Stephen Dorff (Somewhere, those weirdly confrontational e-cigarette commercials), whose plane is shot down in the midst of the 1982 Lebanese Civil War. He strikes a deal with Fahed (Abdallah El Akal), a young Palestinian boy living in a refugee camp, to get him back home in exchange for helping him break free. Dorff’s kind of broken accent aside, the trailer shows a film with all the potential to be a great “buddy” adventure. Though clearly these two enemies aren’t going to trust each other for at least half of the road trip, they’ll surely form a tentative bond that evolves into an unlikely friendship when they realize that they’re not so different after all. Think of all the lessons they’ll learn »
- Samantha Wilson
While it seemed for a brief moment that the career of Stephen Dorff might be in for a mid-period ascension thanks to his turn in Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," that didn't quite happen. As we documented in our feature 10 Actors Hollywood Tried And Failed To Make Happen, Dorff has pretty much gone back to doing a mix of movies you've never heard of, the occasional blockbuster and...well, "Zaytoun." And after making the requisite festival stops last year, it's coming to theaters and a new trailer has arrived. Directed by Eran Riklis, and set against the backdrop of the 1982 Lebanese Civil War, the film finds Dorff playing an Israeli pilot (with dodgy accent and everything), whose plane is shot down. He then makes a deal with 12-year-old Fahed (Abdallah El Akal) –a Palestinian boy living in a Beirut refugee camp—to take him back to his ancestral home in exchange for helping him escape. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
★★★☆☆ Zaytoun (2012), the latest film from Lemon Tree (2008) director Eran Riklis, explores the theme of humanity in war-torn Beirut, circa 1982. Young Palestinian refugee Fahed (Abdallah El Akal) is left orphaned following the death of his father during an Israeli air attack. His days are spent in military training and dodging deadly bullets with his friends. During one training session, Fahed mimics shooting down a plane. At that very moment, the fighter pilot ejects himself as plane bursts into flames and crashes. Taken hostage by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation is the pilot, Yoni (Dorff), who is thrown into captivity.
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- CineVue UK
Directed by Eran Riklis.
Set in 1982, an Israeli fighter pilot, Yoni, gets shot down over Lebanon and subsequently kidnapped by a group of refugee Palestinians. After making his escape, Yoni attempts to make his way back home, and along the way forms a tentative bond with one of the kidnappers: a young boy whose entire world has been turned upside down.
Over the last decade, Hollywood has released a slew of films dealing with the hostility and tension in the Middle East; everything from the lack of nuclear weapons in Iraq (Green Zone) to the murky issue of torture (Rendition). While some were good and others not so good, they all shared one thing in common: very disappointing box office. It seems audiences are simply not interested in the conflict which dominates our news channels. »
- Flickering Myth
Director: Eran Riklis
Running Time: 110 minutes
Extras: Trailer and Making of Documentary
Kids and cinema can make for uncomfortably saccharine viewing – we’re thinking about you John Connor – and actually Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) isn’t a bad comparison to bring to Israeli-uk release Zaytoun (2012). In the same way that annoyingly cutesy Edward Furlong opens up the softer, more human side of the Terminator (complete with cringe-worthy one-liners) so too does Zaytoun (from the producer of The King’S Speech) pair together an odd couple whose journey to the Palestinian homeland sees them getting into all sorts of scrapes while changing each other in a profound way.
When Israeli air force pilot Yoni (Stephen Dorff) is shot down over Beirut in 1982 and captured by the Plo, 12 year old Palestinian street kid Fahed (Abdallah El Akal) is given the task of guarding him. »
- Claire Joanne Huxham
8 items from 2013
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