LEMON TREE (Israel - subtitles)
SHOWING MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009
7:00 pm Grand Reo Theatre, Vanderhoof
Not Rated, 106 Minutes
Director: Eran Riklis, Actors: Hiam Abbass, Doron Tavory, Ali Suliman, Rona Lipaz-Michael

Lemon Tree, the tenderly wrought latest feature from Eran Riklis (whose The Syrian Bride was a Film Circuit favourite), has already screened at several festivals internationally and is sure to warm hearts and stimulate minds upon its theatrical release.

Set in the volatile region of the Middle East, Lemon Tree finds a delightful way of broaching politics and other, more nuanced human affairs. Salma (Hiam Abbass, The Visitor) is a Palestinian widow who has lived in her lemon grove near the Israel-West Bank border for decades. When the Israeli defence minister moves in across the way, Israeli security forces are quick to descend upon Salma, claiming that her lemon trees are a possible threat to the minister’s safety. They ask that she remove her trees from the land.

Outraged by this demand, Salma teams up with a young Palestinian lawyer, Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman, Paradise Now, The Syrian Bride), and the issue goes all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. As the fight rages, the minister’s wife, Mira Navon (Rona Lipaz-Michael), begins to pay attention as she battles her own problems: she’s bored and feels trapped in her domestic situation. Slowly the two women form a bond that ultimately erodes the tensions still percolating after years of bitter conflict between their two nations.

This film explores many complex issues pertaining to personal and political identity as Salma wades into the thorny quagmire that is the Middle East crisis. Ultimately, however, it is the layering of human emotion on top of situational contingencies that allows this film to glimpse beyond the bleak bigger picture and into the intimate human dramas that remind us of the will to live, love and go on.

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Thank you to Royal Bank of Canada for sponsoring this film.
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