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Lemon Tree (2008)
23 out of 26 people found the following review useful:
A powerful human drama with brilliant socio-political tones., 26 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a powerful fictional drama which I hope will move many viewers. The narrative is about people living in both sides of the ever increasingly fortified frontier between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Principally a story about a Palestinian woman, Salma, fighting to save her lemon orchard from the paranoid reality of Israeli security politics.

This is above all a human drama, about the strength of conviction, and will. The two main characters are women who are imprisoned within the chauvinist world of Jewish Israeli society and Muslim Palestinian - both fight to find their voice, their space and their lives. It's about the barriers that both have to face, about the physical walls being put up between people and the mental & cultural walls... Almost all the characters of the film are imprisoned by the circumstances of their life and history in one way or another.

The movie certainly touched me; it principally communicated to me a feeling that the two women yearn to talk to each other, as well as to their lovers, their families, friends and societies at large. Yet they confront painful difficulties - leaving many things unsaid, which frustrate potential resolutions. To me, it can be seen as a larger metaphor in a cultural/political context.

The script is brilliant in my view, in the way it humanizes the context without appearing embarrassingly heavily politicized. The director, Eran Riklis, did a very good job; in his dreamy and clever use of ideas and symbols – almost a national emblem of Jewish Israel connection to the land – is here a Palestinian one, powerfully rooted just as much. About two back yards, a small old Palestinian house with an apparently frail lady – yet powerfully connected to the land. And a model home of an ambitious and ruthless Israeli defense minister that increasingly builds walls in his mind, with his family, and unfortunately between two people – Palestinian and Israeli Jewish. The powerful acting really made me identify with the characters.

Although the film is melancholic, it is replete with wonderful humor, and optimism - essentially how decisions, which can be hugely nationalistic and political, impact ordinary people. Yet even the "little people" can, and do, despite all odds, fight back and affect big decisions.

I give it 9 out of 10, simply because I think Riklis, could have been less linear in unraveling the plot – still this is a masterpiece!