Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Movie Review: Lemon Tree (2008)
A few lemon trees becoming a point of international debate between Israel and the Palestinians is an apt metaphor for the hyper-exaggerated importance of every little gesture and action in the intractable conflict. Lemon Tree is a thoughtful movie about the people living with the reality of the endless aggravation emanating from the ongoing crisis.
Salma teams up with lawyer Ziad Daud (Ali Suliman) to fight the case through the Israeli court system. Ziad has a wife and child leftover from his student days in Russia, but he and Salma nevertheless develop a mutual attraction that sets tongues wagging in the conservative West Bank society. The widow and the lawyer steer their unlikely case to save the grove all the way to the supreme court as the lemon trees become an international cause celebre.
The emerging attraction between Salma and Ziad is handled with refreshing sensitivity, and although there is a greater message of love and dignity emerging together, the relationship remains primarily a simple story of two lonely souls finding solace in a common cause.
But despite the loose ends, Lemon Tree is a masterpiece of simple and controlled storytelling, successfully conveying a much greater drama without descending into melodramatics.
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