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Lemon Tree
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Reviewed on 2009-06-20
Received[2.5]  out of 4 stars
A Palestinian widow's life changes dramatically when the new Israeli Defense Minister moves next door to her on the other side of the green line border separating Israel from the West Bank.

Salma Zidane (Hiam Abbass from "The Visitor") is a poor, lonely woman who barely makes ends meet from the revenues generated by her lemons. Her father's blessed hands planted the seeds more than 50 years ago. A hand-delivered letter from the military commander of the region informs her that her lemon grove poses a threat to national security and must be cut down immediately. She is eligible for compensation.

This eminent domain action brings Salma to tears. She hires a young attorney to protest the uprooting of her beloved trees. The case proceeds through the legal pipeline all the way up to the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem.

The vivid cinematography gives the viewer glimpses of scenic locations throughout Israel. This is a quiet and somber journey that allows lots of time for thought and reflection on the current state of affairs in the Middle East.

The movie doesn't resolve anything and leaves you with a frustrated view of the stalemate and the powerlessness to achieve a lasting peace.

A subplot of romantic feelings that develop between Salma and her lawyer is an unnecessary distraction. The movie also tries to contrast Salma's loneliness with the sense of isolation felt by the neglected wife of the Israeli Defense Minister.

Abbass gives a powerful performance and won the Israeli Academy Award for Best Actress.

The dialogue is in Arabic and Hebrew with short, easy-to-read subtitles. Now playing exclusively at the Glenwood Arts.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


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