Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lemon Tree

Every once in a while there is a movie so beautiful, it draws you in and makes you part of it. You are no longer the observer sitting in a darkened room or theatre, but have been pulled through the invisible wall that divides you from the story. Such a movie is "Lemon Tree". It's an Israeli movie, and it takes place on the border between Israel and the West Bank. A Palestinian widow, Salma Zidane, has inherited her family's lemon grove, and it is her only source of income. The Israeli Defense Minister and his wife move into the house next door, and the Defense Minister orders Salma's lemon grove to be cut down, arguing that it could be a hiding place for terrorists. Security forces set up a guard tower and barbed wire around the grove, and order the trees to be uprooted. Salma is forbidden to enter the grove to pick the lemons or to tend the trees, and they slowly begin to die from lack of care and water. Salma decides to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court, and her quiet dignity and determination are magnificent. The actress who plays Salma Salma, Hiam Abass, was also in "The Visitor", and she is an amazing actress.

In "Lemon Tree", Salma and the Israeli Defense Minister's wife, Mira, become friends. Mira has great respect for Salma and empathy for her plight, and she is disgusted with her husband's overbearing attitude and the way he bullies Salma. She understands Salma, and they develop a bond that transcends the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. I have often thought what a wonderful world this would be if women had the chance to run things for a while. Perhaps they might give a whole new, more humane perspective. Eran Riklis, the producer of the movie, said, "I wanted to populate this film with a lot of faces and give each character their own moment of grace, even when, on the surface, it's one of the 'bad guys,' so to speak... This film does address the ugly side of occupation perhaps, yet no blood is spilled." The movie gives a sympathetic view of the Palestinians, even though it is made by Israelis. The movie is not about war or peace, it is about the beauty of living a simple, day-to-day life. The New York Times named it a 'Critics Pick' of 2009. Well, it certainly gets Jo's 'Critics Pick'.

20 comments:

nomore said...

I'll check the Lemon Tree right now...reminded the old song Lemon Tree too...'come here and take a lesson from the lovely Lemon Tree..' like this.....Thanks the Post...at this time so earlier...

Shaista (Lupus in Flight) said...

Oh this looks so wonderful - I have to start using Lovefilm again so I can keep up with such recommendations... I want to see The Visitor too. Have you seen The Road Home? Or The Cup? Or Scent of Green Papaya? xx

Firefly said...

I don't know the movie, but it does remind me of the song as well. "I don't know how, I don't know why, yesterday you told me about the blue blue sky..."

leilani said...

Sounds good Jo ,Im gonna want to see this! and yes there would be more flowers if women ran the world.. and thats just the plants can u imagine the feng shui!=0D

Wolynski said...

Sounds interesting - I'll get it from Netflix. That same actress is in another movie I liked (besides The Visitor) "Amreeka" - wonderful movie about Palestinians coming to Illinois.

the walking man said...

Book and story behind it

I seemed to remember this not from film but from an NPR interview. Probably when the book came out. this is one I actually went and found and read.

Teri said...

Thanks for the recommendation! I love foreign films but unfortunately Clarksville seems to be allergic to them. :-(

DJan said...

I dashed over to Netflix to add it to my queue and put it at the top of the list. I've got two movies here at home waiting to be watched, and next I'll receive this one. Thanks so much for the recommendation. It sounds wonderful!

Brenda said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jo. I like visiting blogs that give reviews of movies, because I never know what to watch. This sounds like a good one.
Enjoy your weekend!

Carol said...

This sounds wonderful, thanks for the review! I agree with you, women would definitely make much more compassionate rulers of the world....maybe someday. And Jo, thanks for your comments on Jim's saga.

Indian Pundit said...

Amazing review.
Dont know if this movie will come all the way to India......!

"I have often thought what a wonderful world this would be if women had the chance to run things for a while.Perhaps they might give a whole new, more humane perspective."

i agree totally.

Jennifer D said...

I am putting it in my Netflix queue right now. You might like

"The Garden"- about a community garden in L.A.
"The Namesake"- I just recently saw this one and loved it.

myletterstoemily said...

what a lovely review of a movie i
will certainly go see.

i love all things israeli, and was
lucky to visit there with my
grandmother when i was only
19.

thank you for all your kind and
encouraging comments. i know
you must have so many people
to visit.

blessings,
lea

L. D. Burgus said...

I have not heard about this movie. Thanks for the heads up. It sounds like a great story.

Katy said...

Thanks for the suggestion Jo. Its not one I have heard of before, but I'll look for it now.

It is amazing how we watch the news and its easy to forget who these confilcts really impact. The leaders get to sit in nice buildings and theorize about politics while civilians, espcially women, are left struggle with day to day survival.

PinkPanthress said...

Thanks for the recommendation, I like the outline of the story that you gave us! :)
Now I only have to find it somewhere, so I can watch...

all that i am said...

Jo
I feel like I visit you often...
BUT alas...apparently it's been since Sunday?!?
because I opened you today and voila! a new blog?!?
lovely!
all things are becoming new
Happy Spring

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I will definitely see it - it sounds wonderful. I can almost smell the lemons, which I dearly love. Thank you for the review, Jo!

Mia said...

If you liked Hiam Abbass' performance here you'll love The Syrian Bride and Free Zone. She's an interesting person offscreen as well.

Paula Slade said...

I will put it on my 'must see' list!