Monday, February 01, 2010

Lemon Tree

Salma Zidane leads a simple albeit poor existence tending a lemon grove on the Israeli-Palestine border.  When the Israeli defense minister moves in as her neighbor, she receives an Israeli government order stating that the lemon grove has to be wiped out due to security concerns. Most Palestinians would say this is par for the course when living on the border. But for Salma the grove is much more than just her livelihood. The memory of her father and husband are buried in the soil. So she decides to take the might of Israel to court. 

The decision opens up the film to many dimensions. The juxtaposition of the Israeli-Palestinian struggle. The bullying nature of Israel. The treatment of women in Palestine. The rocky marriage of the minister aptly named, Israel Navon and Mira, his wife. The silent relationship between Salma and Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael). But the most interesting dimension is the quiet romance between Salma and her young lawyer, Said (Ali Suliman). And through all this Salma, played beautifully by Hiam Abbass, carriers herself with quiet dignity. All in all, director Eran Riklis has crafted a masterpiece.

Rating: * * * *

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