Israeli director Eran Riklis returns to familiar territory with Zaytoun, using another unlikely friendship scenario between a Palestinian and Israeli which he used to great effect in previous titles, such as the excellent 2008 film Lemon Tree. Broadening his international appeal with a well known American star, Riklis ends up making an overly sentimental film that tends to overstep the bounds of realism as he explores a distinct time period in early 80’s war torn Lebanon. While it’s not a wholly unlikeable film, there’s just a few too many out of place elements to make this anything more than a predictably tame tale.
It’s 1982 and there’s a war going on between Israel and Lebanon. In the years leading up to this, many Palestinian families lived as refugees in Beirut, but were segregated into camps, where they were hardly treated with respect.